The birth of a child is supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life, but it can quickly become stressful when something goes wrong. If your doctor failed to diagnose or treat infant jaundice, you may be entitled to compensation for your harm. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our hard-working Syracuse medical malpractice attorneys have the determination, skill and experience to handle your case. We will analyze the circumstances surrounding your child’s injury to determine if there is enough evidence to file a lawsuit.
Jaundice, also referred to as hyperbilirubinemia, is characterized by a yellowish discoloration of the eyes and skin of a newborn infant. This happens because the baby’s blood contains excessive amounts of bilirubin, a pigment that is released when red blood cells are broken down. Under normal circumstances, the liver removes bilirubin from the body, but in some newborn children, the liver is not mature enough to do this properly. When jaundice is not identified and goes untreated, a condition called kernicterus can develop. Kernicterus is a type of brain damage caused by very high levels of bilirubin in the blood.
Six out of every ten children are born with some degree of jaundice that is diagnosed as a relatively minor condition. Most infants recover from jaundice on their own with non-invasive treatments; however, if jaundice is severe or goes untreated then newborns may experience severe health problems such as hearing loss, vision problems, intellectual disabilities and even cerebral palsy.
Since jaundice is so common, doctors and other medical professionals should be able to identify the signs of the condition. If a medical professional fails to diagnose or treat this condition in a timely manner, he or she may be liable for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice takes place when a medical professional, such as a doctor or nurse, fails to use the level of care that a reasonably prudent medical professional in the same specialty would have used under the same or similar circumstances, thereby causing injury or death to the patient. Medical professionals, for example, could be considered to have committed malpractice in any of the following scenarios:
- The hospital caused or contributed to the child’s jaundice when using vacuum equipment or aggressively using forceps during the delivery;
- The hospital was unreasonably negligent in not having policies on when to check bilirubin levels, especially in infants such as premature babies at high risk;
- The physician or medical professional failed to recognize the symptoms of jaundice in a timely manner;
- The physician and medical team failed to treat the jaundice.
Once medical malpractice is established in a particular case, the plaintiff may be able to recover a wide range of damages under New York law. Common examples of these damages include medical expenses, lost wages due to missed work, pain and suffering and any other losses arising from the accident.
If your newborn child has suffered an injury from an untreated jaundice complication, you need to contact a seasoned Syracuse birth injury attorney without delay. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, we are committed to getting our clients the full and fair compensation they deserve for their harm. Call us today at 315-479-9000 or contact us online.
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