Kernicterus is one of the most catastrophic birth injuries that can easily be prevented with the proper medical care and treatment required of a healthcare provider treating a baby. This is because Kernicterus is a condition of a young baby which manifests itself with a litany of symptoms and warning signs, including severe and prolonged jaundice. As you may know, jaundice is the yellow coloring of the body which can be typical in newborns and goes away after a fews hours or a day. However, if that jaundice is allowed to remain unabated and causes prolonged injury, it could result in Kernicterus which may cause severe brain damage. Our Oregon Kernicterus lawyers explain what this dangerous condition is and why medical providers who fail to treat it could be committing Oregon medical malpractice.
What is Kernicterus?
Kernicterus is a very severe and uncontrolled form of jaundice. Jaundice is a condition characterized by the yellow shading of a person’s skin, eyes, and other parts of the body due to a buildup of bilirubin in the blood. Jaundice may be normal for a newborn for a few hours or days, but usually goes away on its own rather quickly after birth. This is because the baby’s organs, particularly the liver and kidney, went from having the mother handle most of the filtering to now having to begin to independently working on their own. Thus, there could be a little delay or slow start for them to start working. That is completely normal.
But if that jaundice continues for more than a few days, that could be a warning sign of Kernicterus and the baby needs to be monitored closely, tested, and quickly treated. This is because the yellow coloring that occurs is due to excessive bilirubin in the blood. While safe in small doses and for a short period of time, prolonged exposure to bilirubin or excessive amounts of bilirubin could result in serious damage to the baby because it becomes toxic, caustic, and poisonous to the baby—especially the baby’s weakened organs that are starting to function on its own.
This is when jaundice becomes Kernicterus. The toxic condition from the excessive bilirubin is known as hyperbilirubinemia which can cause severe damage to a baby’s organs, blood vessels, nerves, and most importantly to a baby’s brain. The damage to the developing brain can be particularly catastrophic and result in several complications, including cerebral palsy, voluntary movement disorders, and functioning deficits.
Failure to Diagnose Kernicterus
The failure to diagnose Kernicterus could be caused by several reckless, careless, and negligence causes, including grossly negligence causes which could easily be avoided. This is because, unlike many other health emergencies and conditions to a newborn baby, Kernicterus manifests itself with a bright, yellow appearance of the entire baby. Thus, there is no excuse when Kernicterus is not diagnosed when jaundice has been occurred for several days and increasing in severity.
Some of the most common reasons why Kernicterus is caused by Oregon medical malpractice include the following reasons:
Damages Caused by Kernicterus
Because Kernicterus is a condition that occurs after the baby is born, and usually manifests itself within a week or two of the baby’s birth, Kernicterus always as the potential to affect the developing brain. This is because a baby’s developing brain is rapidly growing upon birth and especially within the first few months of birth, although the baby’s brain is obviously rapidly growing for many years to come. But the first few months are critical in creating crucial neural connections, including motor skills, senses, and other all body functions.
Thus, when toxic bilirubin is allowed to caustically damage the developing brain, most of the motor functions and recognition skills of a baby are affected. The excessive bilirubin ends up causing lesions on the developing brain, particularly on the cerebellum and basil ganglia which govern motor movement, sensation, condition, and other all function. Damage here typically results in cerebral palsy, which is a disorder or group of disorders affecting movement and control of one’s body. This is the most common damage from Kernicterus, which also could damage eyesight, hearing, smell, and taste.
Bend/Portland, Oregon Kernicterus Lawyers
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.
We handle cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, and Hillsboro.
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.
Please act quickly, there is a limited time (Statute of Limitations) in which you can bring a claim under the law.