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Untreated Jaundice Complications

Knowledgeable Birth Injury Lawyers Based in the Baltimore Area

Jaundice is a very common condition in newborn babies. Jaundice is typically not considered a serious illness, and it is normally resolved with little or no treatment. However, if jaundice is not treated properly, it can pose health risks to an infant. If your child suffers harm due to untreated jaundice caused by the malpractice of a doctor or hospital, you need to reach out to a seasoned Baltimore birth injury attorney without delay. At Arfaa Law Group, we can examine the facts of your case and help you determine whether or not malpractice may have taken place.

Untreated Jaundice Can Cause Serious Complications

Jaundice, also known as hyperbilirubinemia, is caused by an excess of bilirubin in a newborn baby’s blood. Bilirubin is a protein that is produced by the breakdown of red blood cells. Jaundice occurs because the infant’s liver is not yet mature enough to rid bilirubin from the bloodstream. When a baby has jaundice, there is a yellowing of the eyes and skin. Since jaundice is so common, hospitals normally test bilirubin levels in infants prior to discharge as a routine procedure. Most infants can recover from jaundice on their own or with mild treatment, such as light therapy, to assist in the breakdown of bilirubin. However, medical professionals may be liable for untreated jaundice in the following situations:

  • The hospital was careless in not having protocols and policies in place to check a newborn’s bilirubin levels, particularly in infants such as premature babies who are at high risk for jaundice.
  • The medical professional missed symptoms of jaundice.
  • Once jaundice was diagnosed, it was not treated properly.

Complications can arise when ongoing or severe jaundice goes untreated. Persistently elevated levels of bilirubin that are not treated can result in permanent and long-lasting brain damage called kernicterus. Kernicterus can lead to conditions such as an inability to control muscle movements, hearing impairment (deafness), and brain damage.

A failure to diagnose or treat newborn jaundice may form the basis of a medical malpractice claim if it results in harm to the child. A Maryland medical malpractice claim is a civil claim that intends to hold medical professionals accountable for their negligent conduct. To determine if a doctor committed malpractice, your attorney will look into what a reasonably prudent doctor in the same specialty would have done in the same or a similar situation. If a reasonably prudent doctor would have identified and treated the jaundice properly, a defendant doctor who failed to do so would likely be liable for malpractice.

It is important to note that specific procedural requirements must be followed before a medical malpractice lawsuit can be filed in Maryland. The Maryland medical malpractice statute also requires that medical malpractice claims must be first filed with the Director of the Health Claims Arbitration Office. Plaintiffs must also submit a certificate from a qualified expert stating that the defendant medical professional deviated from the appropriate standard of care, which was a direct cause of the newborn’s injury. This expert testimony will be a critical element of your case, so you will want to retain an attorney who has access to credible experts in a relevant specialty to the defendant.

Consult a Baltimore Attorney for Guidance in Pursuing a Medical Malpractice Claim

Untreated jaundice can cause significant harm to a newborn baby, ranging from cerebral palsy to various cognitive conditions. If a physician failed to treat your newborn baby’s jaundice, resulting in serious medical complications, we can aggressively pursue the compensation that you need to deal with the medical injury. At Arfaa Law Group, our Baltimore lawyers can review your case and determine your legal rights and options. We compassionately help parents throughout the State of Maryland pursue birth injury claims on behalf of their children. To speak to us in detail about your case, do not hesitate to call us at 410-889-1850 or contact us online to set up a free appointment with an attorney.