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Cleveland Birth Injury Attorney Looks at Newborn Jaundice

Michael Becker

Cleveland birth injury attorneys at the Becker Law Firm are well aware that jaundice is not an uncommon condition for newborns to develop. Most of the time, it is not a serious concern and eventually will go away on its own. Sometimes, however, it requires medical intervention.

You might have a legal issue if you believe that jaundice was the result of a medical condition caused by negligence or if it was not properly diagnosed and/or treated. In such cases, you may be entitled to compensation to cover damages through a medical malpractice claim.

An Overview of Jaundice in a Newborn Baby

Jaundice is the result of high levels of bilirubin in the blood. The liver normally can remove bilirubin that forms when red blood cells break down, but because a newborn’s liver isn’t always capable of handling a higher level of bilirubin, it can leave too much in the bloodstream.

Symptoms of jaundice include yellow discoloration of the skin and of the white part of the eyes. The more areas of the body that are yellowed, the more it has spread. In some cases, infants may exhibit poor feeding or may have a fever.

Some infants with jaundice may require phototherapy, which involves placing them under a special light. If the infant is experiencing severe jaundice, it may require hospitalization. In some cases, a blood transfusion may be necessary.

Cephalohematoma and Jaundice

Although an immature liver is generally the cause of jaundice, other conditions may be to blame, too. For instance, during the birth process, blood may pool underneath the scalp. This appears as a large bruise and is known as cephalohematoma.

This could be the result of the incorrect use of assistive birthing devices such as forceps or vacuum extraction. If these tools were not used properly and/or undue force was placed upon the head during the delivery, pooling of blood under the scalp may be the result.

As the red blood cells in the cephalohematoma break down, bilirubin can be released in significant amounts. This can be hard for the newborn’s liver to handle, which could cause jaundice.

Medical Malpractice Claim Stemming from Jaundice

In order to file a claim, you will need to prove that the newborn’s condition was the result of medical negligence with the help of a Cleveland birth injury attorney. Of course, jaundice or the underlying medical condition may not have necessarily been caused by a healthcare professional. However, failure to detect signs of the condition and/or to treat it could be a form of negligence, too. If jaundice is not recognized, what could have been a treatable condition may turn severe.

To prove medical negligence, it must be shown that the doctor or healthcare provider acted in a negligent way by deviating from a standard of care expected from another reasonable healthcare provider in a similar situation. For example, if a cephalohematoma is the result of a difficult birth, but the doctor used all tools correctly and followed the accepted standard of care, you may not have a case of medical negligence.

What’s more, if jaundice was not immediately diagnosed, but it is determined that the healthcare providers did not deviate from standard care in observing newborns or diagnosing jaundice, you may not have a case of negligence. If you’re unsure whether a standard of care was followed, speak to your Cleveland birth injury lawyer at the Becker Law Firm.

The child also must have experienced injury due to negligence and suffered damages. Damages likely will vary from one case to the next but often include medical expenses such as those for hospitalization, medical treatment and more.

Seeking Help from a Cleveland Birth Injury Attorney

A birth injury can leave a family feeling confused and overwhelmed. Talking with a Cleveland birth injury attorney at the Becker Law Firm can provide some direction to help families determine if they have a legitimate case of medical malpractice.

We can explain what constitutes a medical malpractice claim. We can also look at the evidence in your case to see if there is enough to show your child’s injuries were preventable and caused by the actions of a healthcare professional. To learn more about your legal options, call our law firm today at (440) 252-4399 to set up your appointment with a Cleveland birth injury attorney at the Becker Law Firm.

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