What is Kernicterus and How Can it Be a Birth Injury?

Kernicterus is a Very Debilitating Medical Emergency: Learn About it Here


Unfortunately, the notion that jaundice in a newborn baby is harmless is actually a commonplace misconception.  In reality, the failure to identify or treat jaundice may result in serious medical problems for your young child.  As a new parent it is crucial to understand the complications that can result from jaundice and Kernicterus to learn how to give your baby the best care possible.


Jaundice in an infant is a medical condition that results in a baby’s skin and the whites of their eyes to retain a yellow pigment.  Kernicterus, also called Hyperbilirubinemia, is a severe form of jaundice.  Kernicterus is a rare form of brain damage, which is caused by excessive bilirubin in one’s blood.  Bilirubin forms in the bloodstream when the body attempts to get ride of red blood cells.  It is also what causes yellow skin on a baby born with jaundice.  Generally, there is no way to preemptively fight Kernicterus, as the medical field does not know what causes an infant to develop jaundice at such a severe level.  However, it is known that newborns with Rh homelytic disease have a higher chance of developing Kernicterus.


Kernicterus Symptoms: Learn These to Protect Your Child


Kernicterus has three stages of severity, and one’s symptoms will depend largely on the current state of the brain disorder.  Medical intervention is needed immediately.  The faster you can diagnose this condition, the quicker the poisonous effects can be reversed.


A child in the early stages of Kernicterus may face symptoms including:


  • Severe jaundice;
  • Hypotonia;
  • Lethargic feelings;
  • Fatigue; and
  • Issues with feeding, such as lacking the ability to suck.


A child whose Kernicterus has progressed past the initial stage may face symptoms including:


  • Seizures;
  • Enlargement of the fontanel (the soft spot on an infant’s head); and
  • Crying or shrieking.


A child who has reached Kernicterus’s most severe stage may face symptoms including:


  • Loss of hearing, particularly high frequency pitches;
  • Stiff muscles;
  • Issues with body movement; and
  • Higher rate of seizures.


Kernicterus as a Birth Injury: Consequences and Treatment


A birth injury can be the result of much more than just a medical professional’s mistakes made during the childbirth process.  In fact, if a doctor fails to identify or monitor a child’s high level of bilirubin, it may be categorized as a birth injury.  This is because even though a baby will not develop Kernicterus as a result of a doctor’s mistake, they are responsible for diagnosing and treating this condition so that it does not escalate.  Failing to treat Kernicterus may result in your baby having brain damage, changing their life thereafter, and giving rise to a birth injury claim.


If Your Child Developed Kernicterus, Call Our Minneapolis Birth Injury Lawyer to Review What Happened and Whether There is a Medical Mistake


Kernicterus can be a devastating and painful injury for a baby.  If a medical professional may have missed the obvious signs of this disease, learn if that was medical malpractice or an unavoidable tragedy by calling Kuhlman Law, LLC.  Our Minnesota birth injury lawyer handles causes throughout the State, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Duluth, and many other cities.  So please dial (612) 444-3374 to learn what your rights to compensation may be and to schedule your free appointment.  You may also contact us using our easy and convenient “contact us” box at the bottom of our website.  If we accept your case, we will conduct a thorough review of your case and advise you whether there may have been a serious medical mistake causing your injury.   There is no risk, and you do not owe us money unless we win your case.


We also handle cases throughout the state including Bend and Portland Oregon, Redmond, Central Oregon, Multnomah County, Deschutes County, Salem, Eugene, Corvallis, Lane County, Medford, Gresham, Albany, Medford, Beaverton, Umatilla, Pendleton, and Hillsboro.  Our Oregon office number is (541) 385-1999.  

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