There are a few main ways for you to know if your baby has kernicterus. Infant jaundice provides a foundation for kernicterus. Doctors and medical professionals will usually be able to tell if your infant has jaundice by the color of their skin, as this is a tell-tale sign of the condition.
Kernicterus typically develops when a severe form of jaundice is left undiagnosed and untreated. Many signs of kernicterus are noticeable based on your baby’s appearance just days after birth. As the Mayo Clinic shows, “Yellowing of the skin and the whites of the eyes — the main sign of infant jaundice — usually appears between the second and fourth day after birth.”
If you happen to notice any of these signs before your doctor does, then you should bring it to their attention. In most cases, doctors are alert to the early warning signs of jaundice and kernicterus. If a doctor fails to properly diagnose and treat this condition, then their negligence can cause lifetime complications and disabilities for your child. In these cases, you may have the right to receive compensation. When you contact a lawyer who focuses on these situations, they will compile evidence and construct a case to represent your legal stance.
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Common Risk Factors for Kernicterus
While infant jaundice is not too rare in the United States and the rest of the world, some common risk factors serve as a warning sign of more serious conditions such as kernicterus. Premature babies are at a higher risk for jaundice and kernicterus. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 60% of all babies have jaundice. Babies who are born before 37 weeks, or at 8.5 months, of pregnancy might have jaundice because their liver is not fully developed. An undeveloped liver often causes problems with an infant’s ability to filter chemicals out of their bloodstream. Because kernicterus is caused by a build-up of the chemical bilirubin in a baby’s bloodstream, premature birth brings some unique risks to light.
Bruises caused during or after birth represent another major risk factor for jaundice and kernicterus. If a baby experiences some sort of sudden impact that bruises their skin during the birthing process, then the blood that forms around a bruise can produce jaundice. Rough births deserve attention, as they can often produce problems both for the mother and the child. Doctors and medical staff that fail to demonstrate appropriate caution in the delivery of a baby may be held liable if their actions cause jaundice and kernicterus.
Other factors may impact the development of jaundice in a baby as well. If a newborn has a different blood type than their mother, then this can cause jaundice. Medical research has also shown that race may play a factor, as those of East Asian ancestry experience a higher risk for jaundice and kernicterus.
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The Importance of a Prompt Kernicterus Diagnosis
While kernicterus can be severe in its effects, a prompt diagnosis can decrease the impact that the condition has on a child. Doctors and other medical professionals are often keen on the early warning signs of jaundice. However, their failure to diagnose a condition can prove to be an enormous shortcoming, as the problem only worsens when undetected.
If your baby has kernicterus that was undiagnosed and untreated, then you may be entitled to financial compensation. The ongoing complications of a condition like kernicterus are often emotionally and financially costly. A lawyer who focuses on these cases will work to examine the details of your circumstances and inform you of the legal options available to you.
Learn More About Kernicterus and Malpractice During a Free Consultation Today
If you have ever found yourself wondering if your baby has kernicterus, then you are not alone. As a problem across the United States, jaundice and kernicterus can cause many developmental issues in your child. However, if you think that an act of medical malpractice was responsible for this condition in your newborn, then you may be entitled to compensation. When you have a legal team by your side, they will work to represent your interests and pursue any forms of compensation that you may be entitled to cover the costs of your medical bills, pain and suffering, and more.
If you have questions, or if you are curious about how a lawyer can help you, then do not hesitate to contact the Birth Injury Lawyers Group today at (800) 222-9529 for a free consultation.