Understanding Your Rights After Kernicterus Due to Medical Malpractice in Bend, OR Harms You
Have you ever heard of the medical condition kernicterus? Most parents-to-be are not familiar with the term kernicterus until their baby is diagnosed with the condition. Kernicterus is a fairly rare but devastating birth injury that results in permanent brain damage as well as many other catastrophic effects. The sad truth is that kernicterus should never happen and is entirely preventable. Kernicterus is almost entirely preventable and is almost always due to medical malpractice. That means families who have a child harmed by kernicterus de to medical malpractice in Bend, OR should contact an experienced birth injury lawyer.
Here at Kuhlman Law, our birth injury lawyer handles catastrophic birth injury cases due to medical malpractice from defendant healthcare providers who fail to meet their standard of care. Victims and their families may be entitled to compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, future care of a child, and other damages related to the negligence or gross negligence of a healthcare provider in Oregon. If your loved one may have suffered from kernicterus due to medical malpractice in Bend, OR, call our birth injury lawyer to learn more about your rights and how we can help you recover the compensation that you deserve.
What is Kernicterus and How Does Kernicterus Occur?
Kernicterus occurs as a result of untreated or mismanaged jaundice. Jaundice refers to an elevated level of bilirubin in the body. If left untreated, the amount of jaundice builds up in the blood, which then leads to the bilirubin seeping into the tissues of the brain. This leads to catastrophic brain damage.
Treatment for jaundice in the neonatal period may include hydration (oral intake or IV fluids), or the use of phototherapy. Occasionally, other treatments may include exchange therapy, which is the withdrawing small amount of the baby’s blood to replace it with donor blood, or intravenous immunoglobulin therapy.
Are There Any Risk Factors for the Development of Jaundice?
There are certain risk factors that can put a baby at higher risk for jaundice, which can then lead to kernicterus if not properly treated. Risk factors include the following:
- Breastfed babies ate at higher risk due to the fact that they may not get enough milk for proper hydration in the first few days
- Babies who have a different blood type than their mother may be at increase risk as they may have received antibodies through the placenta
- Babies who experienced bruising due to a traumatic birth may be at higher risk for jaundice due to the increased breakdown of more red blood cells
What are the Signs and Symptoms of Kernicterus?
Kernicterus should never occur and once a baby develops signs and symptoms of the condition, they are likely to suffer from long-term effects. Signs and symptoms of kernicterus include the following:
- A high-pitched, abnormal cry
- Extreme lethargy
- Extreme sleepiness
- Abnormal, floppy muscle tone
- Arching of the back and head
- Decrease in urine output (reduced number of wet diapers)
- Poor oral intake that is decreased from baseline
- Abnormal suck during feeding
Is Kernicterus Treatable?
While there is treatment for kernicterus, unfortunately the damage that is done to a baby’s brain is irreversible. Babies diagnosed with kernicterus will receive a variety of treatments, including phototherapy, plasma transfusions, and hydration.
What are the Long-Term Effects of Kernicterus?
Sadly, once kernicterus has occurred, babies will suffer long-term effects of the condition. Babies with kernicterus may develop hearing and vision problems. Some babies may be entirely deaf, while others may have a certain degree of hearing impairment, or may even experience auditory dyssynchrony or auditory neuropathy.
Babies may also experience complete or partial blindness, and may have difficulty moving the eyes, and may especially have difficulty looking upward. Babies with kernicterus may also have issues with movement, including jerky or slow and uncontrolled movements. Babies with kernicterus will often have a need for specialized therapies, special education, assistive devices, home care, and even long-term care.
How is Kernicterus Caused by Medical Malpractice?
Medical malpractice refers to any deviation in the standard of care which then results in patient harm. As mentioned above, kernicterus is almost always preventable. If a medical provider fails to monitor bilirubin, diagnose jaundice and properly treat and monitor jaundice which then leads to kernicterus, this is medical malpractice. If a healthcare provider fails to properly interpret lab results which then results in a delay in treatment or care, this too is considered medical malpractice.
Failure to recognize that a baby has developed kernicterus, leading to more severe brain damage or even death is medical malpractice. Babies diagnosed with kernicterus will need a lifetime of specialized care in most instances, and the cost of this care is often quite expensive. You should never have to pay a dime for any medical bills that are incurred as a result of your child’s kernicterus diagnosis. This is why it is a good idea to discuss your child’s kernicterus diagnosis with an experienced kernicterus lawyer who can review your child’s case to determine if medical malpractice caused. your child’s kernicterus diagnosis.
Families Who Believe their Child Developed Kernicterus Due to Medical Malpractice in Bend, OR Should Call Our Law Firm for Help
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured or killed as a result of medical malpractice contact the Oregon Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Kuhlman Law at our number below or fill out the intake form. We offer a free initial case evaluation and handle cases on a contingency fee which means that you pay no money unless we recover.
Our law firm handles cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Sisters, Madras, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, La Grande, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, Cottage Grove, Florence, Oregon City, Springfield, Keizer, Grants Pass, McMinnville, Tualatin, West Linn, Forest Grove, Wilsonville, Newberg, Roseburg, Lake Oswego, Klamath Falls, Happy Valley, Tigard, Ashland, Milwakie, Coos Bay, The Dalles, St. Helens, Sherwood, Central Point, Canby, Troutdale, Hermiston, Silverton, Hood River, Newport, Prineville, Astoria, Tillamook, Lincoln City, Hillsboro, and Vancouver, Washington.
We also have an office in Minneapolis, Minnesota and take medical malpractice cases throughout the Twin Cities, including St. Paul, Hennepin County, Ramsey County, Dakota County, Washington County, Anoka County, Scott County, Blaine, Stillwater, and Saint Paul Minnesota.
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