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Can I Sue If My Baby Suffered From Kernicterus Due To Malpractice?

on  Medical Malpractice

If my baby was diagnosed with kernicterus, can I file a medical malpractice lawsuit? 

Yes! You can sue if your baby suffers from kernicterus or high bilirubin levels due to medical malpractice. If you believe a doctor’s negligence is to blame, you can hold them accountable and get the compensation and justice you deserve. 

Kernicterus is a rare but severe condition resulting from untreated or inadequately managed infant jaundice. It can lead to lifelong disabilities, and if you suspect that negligence by healthcare professionals played a role in your baby’s suffering, you can take legal action. 

Call our law firm immediately if your baby is diagnosed with kernicterus. Even if you’re unsure if you have a case, our Florida birth injury lawyers can review the details of your child’s injury and determine if you have cause to file a medical malpractice claim. 

At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Attorneys, we know your focus is on helping your child get better. Filing a lawsuit may be the last thing on your mind. However, your family should not endure unnecessary financial burdens because of a medical professional’s negligence. In addition, if your child has permanent and lifelong disabilities, you must protect their future. Let us handle the legal aspects of your case so that you can focus on your baby. 

Understanding Kernicterus

Kernicterus is a rare yet severe neurological disorder caused by untreated or inadequately managed infant jaundice. How does jaundice occur, and why is it damaging for infants?

When red blood cells break down, they produce bilirubin. The liver typically processes this yellow pigment and removes it from the bloodstream.  

However, in newborns, the liver is not fully developed. Because the liver is immature, bilirubin can build up in the body, causing the skin and eyes to turn yellow. 

Unfortunately, too much bilirubin in the blood is toxic and leads to a condition known as jaundice. If jaundice is not promptly diagnosed and treated, bilirubin levels can rise to dangerous levels, leading to kernicterus.

Kernicterus can result in permanent brain damage, impairment, and disabilities. Your child may suffer from a wide-range of issues that can negatively impact their entire lives.

  • Muscle Stiffness: Kernicterus often leads to hypertonia, characterized by muscle stiffness and rigidity. This can hinder a child’s mobility, making it difficult to perform everyday tasks, walk, or engage in physical activities.
  • Developmental Delays: The brain damage caused by kernicterus can severely impede a child’s developmental progress. Children may experience delays in reaching crucial milestones, such as crawling, walking, talking, and social interaction. These delays can persist throughout their lives.
  • Hearing Loss: Kernicterus can result in sensorineural hearing loss, affecting the child’s ability to hear and comprehend sounds. This can impede their communication skills, academic performance, and overall quality of life.
  • Intellectual Disabilities: Kernicterus can harm the brain, leading to intellectual disabilities. Your child may struggle to learn, retain information, and participate in educational and vocational activities. This can make it difficult to graduate school, find a job, or start a career. 
  • Behavioral and Psychological Issues: Many individuals with kernicterus experience behavioral and emotional difficulties, such as mood disorders, impulsivity, and difficulty with social relationships.

It’s important to note that healthcare providers, including doctors and nurses, play a critical role in preventing kernicterus. Regularly monitoring and assessing a newborn’s bilirubin levels are essential to identify and treat jaundice promptly. If healthcare professionals fail to follow established protocols and standards of care and your child suffers from kernicterus, it may be considered a form of medical malpractice.

Establishing Medical Malpractice After Kernicterus

When medical negligence is the cause of kernicterus, parents have the right to seek justice for their children. Negligent physicians, medical professionals, and hospitals must be held accountable for their actions. Pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit can help secure compensation for medical expenses, ongoing care costs, and the pain and suffering your child and family have endured. 

To pursue a lawsuit, your medical malpractice lawyer must prove medical malpractice. This involves demonstrating that a healthcare professional or institution failed to provide the standard of care expected in your baby’s case. 

Common examples of medical malpractice leading to kernicterus include:

  • Failure to diagnose jaundice promptly
  • Inadequate monitoring and assessment of bilirubin levels
  • Incorrect administration or dosage of phototherapy
  • Delayed or improper treatment of jaundice

Strong Evidence Wins Kernicterus Medical Malpractice Cases 

In a medical malpractice case involving kernicterus, the strength of your evidence can make all the difference. Building a compelling case requires a meticulous collection of various types of evidence. To ensure the best chance of success, our legal team will investigate your case closely and gather as much evidence as we can, including: 

Medical Records

Your baby’s medical records are the primary source of evidence. We will request and thoroughly review these records to look for any inconsistencies, omissions, or mistakes in the documentation. Medical records should provide insight into the diagnosis and treatment of jaundice, bilirubin levels, phototherapy administration, and any delays or errors in these procedures.

Expert Opinions

Medical malpractice cases often hinge on the testimony of qualified medical experts. Our attorneys will consult with experts who can provide their professional opinions on the standard of care and whether it was breached in your baby’s case. These experts can evaluate the actions or inactions of the healthcare providers and explain how they deviated from accepted medical practices. Their testimony can be influential in demonstrating the negligence that led to kernicterus.

Eyewitness Testimony

If others were present during the events leading to kernicterus, such as family members or other medical staff, our medical malpractice lawyers will gather their statements. Eyewitness accounts can provide valuable perspectives on the situation, especially if they observed any concerning actions, conversations, or deviations from standard protocols. Witness testimonies can help corroborate your claims and strengthen your case.

Photographic Evidence

Visual evidence can be incredibly powerful in a medical malpractice case. You can help your case by documenting your baby’s condition. Pay special attention to any visible symptoms of kernicterus, such as skin discoloration or muscle stiffness. Additionally, photograph any relevant medical equipment or conditions that may have contributed to the malpractice. This visual evidence can help paint a clear picture of the circumstances and compellingly support your claims.

Collecting Compensation For Your Baby’s Future

When you pursue a medical malpractice case related to kernicterus and win, you may be entitled to various forms of compensation. These awards are essential to help cover the expenses and challenges associated with caring for a child with kernicterus, who often experiences serious lifelong impairment and disability.

Medical Expenses & Ongoing Future Medical Bills

Kernicterus often requires immediate and intensive medical intervention. This includes hospital stays, diagnostic tests, and specialized treatment to manage the condition and its complications. 

Unfortunately, children with kernicterus require ongoing medical care and supervision, sometimes throughout their lives. This includes regular doctor visits, monitoring of bilirubin levels, and specialized therapies to address developmental, mobility, and sensory issues.

Rehabilitation and Therapies

Kernicterus often leads to muscle stiffness and mobility challenges. Physical therapy is essential to help children regain and improve their motor skills. In addition, many children with kernicterus experience speech and language difficulties, and therapy in this area are crucial for effective communication.

Assistive Devices and Home Modifications

Depending on the severity of muscle stiffness, some children may require mobility aids like wheelchairs or walkers to move around. Some children with kernicterus may suffer from hearing loss, requiring hearing aids or other hearing devices. 

If your child has mobility issues, you may need to adapt your home environment to accommodate their needs. This can include installing ramps, widening doorways, or making other structural adjustments.

Caregiver Costs & Lost Wages

Parents and caregivers often take on the role of primary caregivers for children with kernicterus. Compensation can be sought for the time, effort, and expense of providing care. If you must quit your job to care for your child, you can also seek compensation for your lost wages. 

Loss of Earning Capacity

If your child’s kernicterus results in significant cognitive impairments, they may lose earning capacity as they reach adulthood. These are real tangible losses, as your child may be unable to work or provide for themselves due to their disabilities. 

Pain and Suffering

You and your family can seek compensation for the emotional and physical suffering experienced by you and your child. It can encompass the pain and distress associated with the child’s medical condition and its challenges.

Contact Our Florida Birth Injury Attorneys Today

Call our law firm immediately if your baby suffered from kernicterus and you believe medical malpractice is to blame. You may have a case against the negligent doctor or medical professional. At Prosper Shaked Accident Injury Lawyers, we can help you build a case to obtain the compensation you need to care for your child and safeguard their future. Our Florida medical malpractice lawyers can help you and your family seek justice and hold negligent medical providers accountable. 

For help understanding how much your case should be worth and what your best path to compensation is, contact our office today to schedule a free consultation. Our number is (305) 694-2676.