Jaundice: Definition, symptoms and complications.

Infant jaundice results from an excess of bilirubin within the newborn's blood. The disorder is generally due to an immature liver in the infant. The liver is unable to remove the bilirubin at a rapid enough rate, resulting in a yellow tinge to the skin. Experts with Mayo Clinic not that birth before 38 weeks of gestation, bruising during the birthing process and instances when the mother and infant have different blood types can all contribute to jaundice.

Common symptoms of severe jaundice include:

  • Increased yellowing of infant's skin.
  • Yellowing of the whites of the baby's eyes.
  • Lethargic baby that does not wake easily.
  • Presence of a distinct, high-pitch cry.
  • Lack of weight gain.

In severe cases, complications can include cerebral palsy, hearing loss and permanent brain damage resulting in a syndrome referred to as kernicterus.

Jaundice: The power of intervention.

Although jaundice can lead to severe complications, treatments are available that greatly reduce this risk. The United States National Library of Medicine and National Institutes of Health call for physicians and other medical professionals to watch for signs of jaundice before an infant is discharged. Any infant with yellow coloration should have bilirubin levels measured, which is done with a blood test. Depending on the level of bilirubin, various treatments are available. These treatments can include:

  • Feeding. Frequent feeding to promote bowl movements can naturally remove bilirubin from the infant's body.
  • Phototherapy. Artificial lights can break down the bilirubin in the infant's skin.
  • IV. In rare cases, the infant may require an intravenous line to administer fluids.

Medical professionals who do not follow accepted protocol and monitor for this disorder can be held liable if injury results. In these cases, a medical malpractice suit may be recommended.

Legal counsel can help

Victims of medical malpractice, like a failure to diagnose jaundice leading to injuries, are eligible to receive compensation to help cover the cost of medical treatment, rehabilitation and future care. Contact an experienced excessive newborn jaundice medical malpractice attorney with Rosenberg, Minc, Falkoff & Wolff, LLP to discuss your options.

Keywords: medical malpractice

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