Zevan Davidson Roman Law Firm Articles Failure to Diagnose Jaundice Can Cause Serious Injury

Failure to Diagnose Jaundice Can Cause Serious Injury

By Kevin Davidson  Jan. 12, 2015 8:01a

Jaundice is a common condition affecting newborn babies and develops when the baby has unusually high levels of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a substance produced by the body when it replaces red blood cells. Normally, the liver breaks down and removes this compound from the body, but when the liver fails to do so, the excessive bilrubin can cause the baby's eyes and skin to take on a yellowish color. This condition is known as jaundice.

Diagnosing Jaundice

Jaundice can lead to serious consequences if not treated properly and in a timely manner. Most cases of jaundice among newborns are mild and the condition often subsides on its own within a few days after birth. However, it is important that the doctor monitors the condition properly and regularly as soon as it is diagnosed. A skin assessment and blood test are used to measure bilirubin levels. If the tests show that the bilirubin levels are increasing instead of decreasing, a doctor will start treatment as soon as possible.

Treatment of Jaundice

If a baby's jaundice does not come under control, a doctor will begin light therapy for the baby. The baby is made to wear eye protection and just a diaper and placed under a blue light. The blue light will breakdown the excessive bilirubin present in the blood. In case the condition is diagnosed after the baby has been discharged from the hospital, the parents may receive a light therapy blanket for the baby. In addition to this, the following home therapies may be useful:

  • Have a nurse set up light therapy treatment and monitor daily levels.
  • Ensure the baby is exposed to daylight as much as possible.
  • The baby should feed ten to twelve times a day.

Severe Jaundice

For babies who suffer from severe jaundice, an exchange blood transfusion may be necessary, wherein the baby's blood is replaced. The baby may also be given antibiotics intravenously. There are several different types of successful jaundice treatments available, but poor or delayed diagnosis and inappropriate treatment may cause serious damage. The most serious consequences include cerebral palsy, deafness, and even brain damage.

If you baby has suffered a birth injury because of the doctor's failure to diagnose and treat your baby's jaundice, consult with Zevan and Davidson Law Firm at (314) 588-7200.

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