Information on Kernicterus
Birth Injury Attorney in West Virginia
Jaundice is a very normal condition experienced by newborns. It is known
by the yellow tint it gives to the skin and the eyes. In extreme cases
of jaundice, it can result in a permanent brain damage known as
kernicterus. What causes jaundice in the first place? When red blood cells die, the
liver is responsible for getting rid of them. The process of removing
the dead cells creates bilirubin as a byproduct. Bilirubin is then broken
down by the body and removed in the stool. When bilirubin is not broken
down and removed from the body fast enough, it can result in
jaundice. In some cases, there are too many red blood cells dying and the liver
cannot keep up with the amount. In other cases, the liver itself is the
problem and is not functioning as it should.
The last possible reason for jaundice is that when the bilirubin leaves
the liver, it is not able to get through the digestive system properly
and therefore is not removed from the body. There are several warning
signs that a child is suffering from jaundice. First of all, as mentioned
before, their skin and eyes will begin to look yellow. The inside of their
mouth may also look yellow. Their urine will be too dark and their stool
will be too pale. If a baby is going to develop jaundice, they will usually
develop it within two to four days after birth. It usually goes away on
its own after a couple weeks, but it can turn into something worse.
What is kernicterus?
How do you know if your child's case of jaundice has worsened into
the very dangerous condition of kernicterus? When an infant has a very
high level of bilirubin in their blood, there is the potential that the
bilirubin will spread into the brain. Should this happen, it could cause
serious brain damage. Although slightly raised levels of bilirubin in
the blood are normal in newborns, such extreme levels that would lead
to kernicterus are not. If the jaundice is not treated correctly, it may
continue to get worse. Some babies could suffer from certain health complications
which increase their chances of developing this condition.
What are the symptoms of kernicterus? A baby who has developed kernicterus
will most likely display signs of extreme tiredness. Although infants
sleep a vast majority of the time, these babies will have difficulties
staying awake or will not wake up. Babies with kernicterus will also have
an abnormal high-pitched cry. The infant's muscles may also be affected
in that they are flexed too much sometimes and then too weak at other
times. Most babies will also have a fever. A blood test can determine
whether the child's bilirubin levels are too high, but once a child
has developed kernicterus, the damage is already done.
Talk to a West Virginia birth injury lawyer today!
Jaundice needs to be caught and treated before it can develop into kernicterus.
It is the responsibility of the doctors and nurses to monitor infants'
bilirubin levels after birth. There are several different ways a doctor
could work to lower bilirubin levels. If they fail in any of these regards,
they could be guilty of medical malpractice. If you notice any of the
possible symptoms of jaundice, tell your doctor as soon as possible. Our
West Virginia birth injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting your rights and best interests. We have over
30 years of combined experience on our side and will do everything in
our power to get you the compensation you deserve.
Please, do not wait to
contact our West Virginia birth injury lawyers if you believe that your child was the victim of medical malpractice.