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Jaundice in Newborns

The birth of a child is one of the happiest days in a parent’s life. Sometimes, however, complications at birth can cause injuries to the baby. Sometimes these injuries are minor, while other times they could be quite serious. Jaundice is a common problem with newborns at birth. Jaundice is a condition that is characterized by yellow skin color. It can also affect the whites of the baby’s eyes. Jaundice is often easily treated with no further problems. However, sometimes jaundice may not be properly diagnosed or treated, leading to medical complications.

Diagnosis of Jaundice

Jaundice
in newborns can range in severity. Mild cases of jaundice may not require any type of treatment. More severe cases require immediate treatment. Doctors and other medical professionals should diagnose and treat jaundice as quickly as possible. Blood tests should be done to determine whether a child has elevated levels of bilirubin. Bilirubin is a substance that the body creates to remove dead blood cells. The substance is then broken down in the liver so it can be removed through waste.

Risk for Jaundice

Some babies are at a higher risk for jaundice than others. Infants born with certain types of disorders may be more prone to jaundice. For example, those with Gilbert syndrome, Dubin-Johnson syndrome, Rotor syndrome, and Crigler-Najjar syndrome should be tested for jaundice. Those with infections, immune system problems, or hepatitis, and premature babies are also more likely to have jaundice at birth.

Jaundice Treatment

Jaundice is typically treated with light therapy. The infant is placed under a special lamp called a billi-light. The light treatment aids the body in the removal of bilirubans. Additionally, jaundiced babies require more frequent feedings to aid in the removal process. In extreme cases, the baby may need a blood transfusion. Usually, however, the baby’s liver begins functioning properly and treatment is only necessary for a few days.

Failure to Diagnose

When jaundice goes undiagnosed, the baby could suffer some severe and disabling conditions as a result. Misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose could be considered medical malpractice. Some of the severe medical problems that may result from an increased level of biliban in the blood include immune system weakness, increased risk of infections, hepatitis and other liver diseases. The condition will have a negative impact on the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.

Birth Injury Lawsuit

When a baby is born with jaundice and it is left untreated, the baby may suffer serious injuries. If this occurs, the doctor or hospital may be held liable for the negligent actions – the failure to promptly diagnose and treat jaundice. Many hospitals have policies in place that require the testing for jaundice in all newborns. If this policy is not in place, and the baby was not tested, it could be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. Injuries to infants at birth are extremely serious and can cause long term medical problems. The parents may have extremely high medical treatment expenses and future care costs. These costs should be paid for by the negligent doctor. If your baby was injured at birth, contact the experienced lawyers at Levin & Perconti to discuss your options.

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