It’s not uncommon for a newborn to be born with jaundice. When there are high levels of waste in the blood, the liver removes bilirubin, which is a waste product, from the blood. If a baby has high levels of waste in the blood, that is known as hyperbilirubemia (also called jaundice). Hyperbilirubemia, if allowed to continue, can cause a serious condition known as kernicterus.
Jaundice is very easy to diagnose and treat in newborns. About 60 percent of newborns have jaundice. In most cases, the eyes and the skin are yellow. In infants with darker complexions, there are simple blood tests that can show whether or not an infant has jaundice. If an infant does have jaundice, it’s commonly treated with light therapy.
In serious cases, jaundice can lead to very grave consequences, including cerebral palsy. Jaundice that lasts more than two weeks, or leads to an infant who is very lethargic, are signs of kernicterus. Newborns who develop kernicterus may have hearing problems, vision problems, or cerebral palsy.
Jaundice is very common, easy to diagnose, and can easily be treated. Therefore, if a doctor allows jaundice to persist without treatment, the doctor can be held liable. Doctors owe a duty to their patients to diagnose and treat jaundice immediately. If your infant has been harmed due to jaundice, call me, Conal Doyle, Los Angeles medical malpractice attorney at 310-385-0567. My team can help. Call to learn more or to schedule a free consultation on your case.