Kernicterus

Birth Injury Lawyer Assisting Parents in Baltimore and Beyond

Birth injuries can have devastating and long-term consequences for a child. If your child suffered from complications due to kernicterus, the healthcare provider may be at fault. At The Arfaa Law Group, our seasoned Baltimore birth injury attorneys will investigate the facts of your case and determine whether medical malpractice took place. You can trust that we are dedicated to holding negligent medical professionals responsible for the harm that they cause.

Establishing Negligence in Birth Injury Cases

Kernicterus is an extremely rare type of brain damage that occurs in a newborn with severe jaundice. When red blood cells break down in our bodies, they release a substance called bilirubin. It is a normal process but many babies produce a lot of it shortly after birth due to a period of rapid red blood cell breakdown. Bilirubin has a yellow pigment, so when it builds up, the skin appears to be yellow. This condition is referred to as jaundice. Premature babies are particularly at risk for excessive jaundice due to the fact that their livers are immature and have a hard time eliminating bilirubin. When bilirubin builds up to very high levels and spreads into the brain tissues, it can be toxic and lead to extensive and permanent brain injury. In extreme cases, a baby can die from kernicterus.

Early recognition of excessive jaundice is critical to avoid brain injury. When a baby suffers brain damage due to a doctor’s failure to monitor or treat high levels of bilirubin, that doctor may be liable for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice, also known as medical negligence, claims are appropriate when a medical professional causes an injury or death by failing to use the standard of care used by reasonable medical professionals in the same speciality treating patients in the same or similar situation. Kernicterus is almost always preventable since early signs of high bilirubin levels are very easy to recognize. Medical professionals are trained to identify, monitor, and treat early symptoms. As such, when a doctor fails to do so, he or she will generally be considered negligent.

In Maryland medical malpractice cases, a qualified expert establishes the standard of care. The qualified expert is typically an individual who is a licensed professional in the same specialty as the defendant. For example, the standard of care for an OB/GYN will likely be established by another OB/GYN. The basic requirements under Maryland law for an expert witness are as follows: (1) the expert witness has clinical experience; (2) the medical expert must have provided consultation relating to clinical practice; and (3) the medical expert must have taught medicine in the defendant’s specialty; or a related field of medicine; or in the field of medicine in which the defendant treated the plaintiff, within five years of the date the alleged malpractice took place.

Consult a Skilled Baltimore Birth Injury Lawyer

If your child has sustained a birth injury, you should speak to a birth injury attorney in Baltimore about your legal options. At The Arfaa Law Group, we will thoroughly review your case and provide you with a realistic assessment of your claim. You can rest assured that our experienced medical malpractice lawyers will zealously build your case and represent your interests. We proudly take on clients from Columbia, Glen Burnie, Ellicott City, Dundalk, Towson, and Woodlawn. To discuss your case in more detail, please call us at 410-889-1850 or contacting us online.