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Bilirubin Encephalopathy (Kernicterus) Birth Injuries

Cleveland birth injury attorney explains available legal options

Neonatal injuries to newborn children can have serious health consequences. And one of the most serious birth injuries newborn babies can sustain is a medical condition known as bilirubin encephalopathy (BE), which can result in Kernicterus in severe cases.

This is why it’s critical that doctors and other medical professionals know how to diagnose and treat bilirubin encephalopathy. Otherwise, your child could develop Kernicterus or another serious, potentially-life threatening medical condition.

If your obstetrician or another healthcare professional made a mistake that resulted in bilirubin encephalopathy, Kernicterus or another serious medical condition, make sure you fully understand your legal rights. Make sure you talk to an attorney at The Lancione Law Firm.

We can fight for your rights

Cleveland birth injury lawyer John A. Lancione has more than three decades of legal experience handling legal cases involving birth injuries and medical negligence. When you have attorney Lancione on your side, you can make sure your child’s birth injury gets the attention it deserves.

Our hands-on, detail-oriented approach starts with taking the time to listen to you explain exactly what happened in your own words. Attorney Lancione will then explain all the legal options available to you, including filing a birth injury lawsuit if necessary.

Once you agree on a legal strategy, he will keep you informed throughout your case. Whether it’s investigating your child’s injury or negotiating a settlement on your behalf, you will know exactly what’s happening. We work this way because we believe our clients should be actively involved every step of the way. Your best interests always come first here.

What is Bilirubin Encephalopathy?

Bilirubin Encephalopathy (BE) is a severe neurological condition that causes harm to a newborn baby’s nervous system. Newborn children who develop BE have severe jaundice, a medical condition in which bilirubin levels in the blood are higher than normal.

Bilirubin is a naturally occurring yellow pigment in the body that breaks down old red blood cells from the liver. However, when bilirubin levels are higher than normal and stay higher during the first few weeks of life, Bilirubin Encephalopathy can cause serious injuries. Such neonatal injuries often include:

  • Brain damage
  • Hearing loss

What is Kernicterus?

Untreated Bilirubin Encephalopathy can cause Kernicterus, a type of permanent brain damage. Kernicterus often causes a yellow stain on the brain. If diagnosed early, Kernicterus can often be treated effectively using several different types of medical treatments. Common treatments for Kernicterus include:

  • Light therapy, also known as phototherapy.
  • Blood transfusions, in which newborn child’s blood is replaced with fresh blood and plasma.

If not diagnosed and treated early, Kernicterus can be fatal or cause permanent damage. This is why it’s critical that doctors and other medical professionals know the warning signs of Kernicterus and other serious medical conditions associated with Bilirubin Encephalopathy.

What are common symptoms of Bilirubin Encephalopathy?

There are three stages of BE, with Stage 1 being the least severe and Stage 3 BE the most severe. Common symptoms of BE by stage include:

  • Stage 1 BE symptoms – Fever, excessive tiredness, yellow color in white part of eye, yellow-toned skin.
  • Stage 2 BE symptoms – Excessive crying, decreased appetite, difficulty moving muscles, arched back, a medical condition often referred to as hypertonia.
  • Stage 3 BE symptoms – Seizures, high pitched crying, neck hyperextended backwards, hypertonia, coma.

If Bilirubin Encephalopathy is not diagnosed and treated early, severe medical complications can develop. Advanced Bilirubin Encephalopathy can result in death. That’s why it’s critical that doctors and other medical professionals recognize the warning signs of Bilirubin Encephalopathy and provide medical treatment right away.

How does malpractice play a role in Bilirubin Encephalopathy?

Negligence or malpractice often occurs in medical cases involving Bilirubin Encephalopathy. Examples include:

  • Doctor failed to recognize and treat jaundice.
  • Doctor misdiagnosed Bilirubin Encephalopathy.
  • Delayed diagnosis of Bilirubin Encephalopathy.
  • Delayed medical treatment.
  • Failure to follow standard medical procedures.
  • Not performing standard medical tests designed to diagnose Bilirubin Encephalopathy.
  • No medical care administered at all.

In such situations, your family may be able to file a malpractice lawsuit or take other legal action against the doctor or medical facility that made a mistake which resulted in your child’s injury or illness. That’s why it’s critical that you talk to a birth injury lawyer right away familiar with these types of complicated legal cases.

You have rights. Our Cleveland-area law firm can help. Contact us

Knowing what to do when dealing with a Bilirubin Encephalopathy injury or illness involving a newborn infant can be confusing and overwhelming. Even knowing what your legal right are might not be clear. That’s why our law firm wants to help.

Cleveland birth injury attorney John A. Lancione can work with your family to build the strongest possible legal case. We know what evidence to look for and what questions to ask when it comes to negligence or malpractice involving Bilirubin Encephalopathy. That’s why we have such a strong track record of success.

Whether it’s negotiating a financial settlement or filing a malpractice lawsuit on your family’s behalf, you can count on us when it matters most. Contact our law firm and schedule a free consultation with Ohio birth injury lawyer John A. Lancione. You can reach us online or call (440) 331-6100 or (877) 515-4369 to schedule an appointment.

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