While it is not uncommon for a baby to develop jaundice (a condition that is caused by high levels of bilirubin and causes the skin to have a yellowish appearance), it is expected that doctors would treat this condition. When left untreated, or if jaundice becomes more serious, it can lead to a dangerous condition called kernicterus.
Kernicterus is a life-threatening condition that causes brain damage due to the untreated high levels of bilirubin. The earlier jaundice is treated, the less likely it is that a baby will suffer brain damage. When jaundice treatment or treatment of kernicterus does not occur and a baby suffers a Northern Kentucky birth injury, medical negligence could be to blame.
When the medical staff fails to perform any of the below steps, they could be liable for medical malpractice:
- Not examining a newborn for jaundice
- Failing to examine a baby for kernicterus
- Not conducting a bilirubin screening
- Failing to treat a newborn after learning the bilirubin results
When a doctor fails to recognize jaundice, a newborn may suffer needlessly at the hands of a negligent doctor. Sadly, failure to treat kernicterus could result in permanent brain and neurological damage, or it could even lead to the death of an innocent baby.
Because kernicterus is preventable, negligent doctors could be held liable for failure to prevent this serious medical condition. Parents of children who have suffered serious or even fatal injuries as a result of medical negligence could be entitled to financial compensation through a Kentucky medical malpractice claim.
Talk to a caring and experienced Northern Kentucky birth injury lawyer at the Law Office of Schachter, Hendy & Johnson at (859) 578-4444 or (888) 606-5297 to find out more about your legal options and start pursuing a just recovery.