Kernicterus is a preventable neurologic disorder caused by newborn jaundice that can result in brain damage and can cause athetoid cerebral palsy, gaze, dental hypoplasia and hearing loss. It also causes problems with vision and teeth and sometimes can cause mental retardation. In some newborn babies, the liver makes too much yellow pigment called bilirubin. When too much bilirubin builds up in a new baby's body (hyperbilirubinemia), the skin and whites of the eyes turn yellow.
This yellow coloring is called jaundice. Jaundice is very common in newborn babies and usually goes away by itself. >About 60% of all newborns develop some form of jaundice. According to medical experts, jaundice is the top reason for re-admission to the hopsital for newborns, in the first week of their lives. A little jaundice is not usually a problem, but some babies have too much jaundice. If not treated, these high levels of bilirubin can cause kernicterus resulting in severe brain damage and athetoid cerebral palsy. If the jaundice is mistreated or misdiagnosed, then medical malpractice may have occurred.
Does Jaundice Cause Kernicterus?
Many babies have some jaundice. When they are a few days old, their skin slowly begins to turn yellow. The yellow color comes from the color of bilirubin. When red blood cells die, they break down and bilirubin is left. It is normal for some of the red blood cells to die everyday. The red blood cells break down and make bilirubin. In newborns, the liver may not be developed enough to get rid of so much bilirubin at once.
So, if too many red blood cells die at the same time, the baby can become very yellow or may even look orange. The yellow color does not hurt the baby's skin, but the bilirubin goes to the brain as well as to the skin. Untreated bilirubin / jaundice can lead to kernicterus resulting in severe brain damage,athetoid cerebral palsy, hypoplasia, hearing loss, strabismus,and loss of vision or eyesight. Causes of kernicterus are few, but the prevention options are innumerable.
Jaundice and Kernicterus
No baby should develop kernicterus resulting brain damage or cerebral palsy from untreated jaundice. Kerenicterus is preventable.!!
Jaundice is a common problem among infants immediately after birth. It is the result of the inability of the neonatal liver to clear bilirubin, a breakdown product of blood cells, from the blood. In most cases, jaundice is usually a self-limiting, mild disorder. The most commonly used treatment is ultraviolet light exposure, in which the infant is placed under an ultraviolet lamp for a few hours each day. The ultraviolet light breaks down bilirubin into a water soluable form which the infant liver can process and excrete.
If the baby gets very jaundiced, the doctor can do an immediate exchange transfusion. An exchange transfusion is a life-saving procedure designed to counteract the effects of serious jaundice, infection or bilirubin toxicity. When the bilirubin is deposited in the brain (CNS) tissues, then a diagnosis of kernicterus is certain. The procedure involves the staged removal of the infant's blood and replacement with fresh donor blood or plasma. The kernicterus treatment exchange transfusion is credited with preventing countless infants from developing kernicterus, when other jaundice treatments have failed.
High biliubin can cause kernicterus and spastic cerebral palsy. If your doctor(s) failed to properly diagnose and/or properly treat your child's jaundice and it resulted in kernicterus, then you may have a kernicterus lawsuit against the negligent doctors or other health care professionals. Jaundice is caused by high levels of bilirubin in the blood called hyperbilirubinemia and in your child's tissues.
When the child's doctor fails to recognize the severity of the jaundice or mis-diagnoses the condition or fails to aggressively treat the jaundice, and it results in kernicterus, then medical negligence may have occurred. If you would like to have your case reviewed by our cerebral palsy / kernicterus medical experts, then call us immediately for a Free Confidential Consultation.
Call 1-800-883-9858 for a Kernicterus Cerebral Palsy Lawsuit Evaluation