Kernicterus Brain Damage in Babies Linked to Medical Malpractice

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Medical malpractice lawyer and licensed medical doctor, Dr. Bruce Fagel discusses the link between kernicterus and medical malpractice. Kernicterus is a type of brain damage that happens with newborn children because of severe jaundice that is untreated. Although mild jaundice is not a problem, a significant build up of bilirubin which causes severe jaundice is a serious problem and can cause permanent brain damage to a baby. If a child has kernicterus, medical malpractice is often the cause.

Medical malpractice kernicterus and cerebral palsy attorney

Medical Malpractice Lawyer Dr. Bruce Fagel

A significant elevated bilirubin level or hyperbilirubinemia left untreated can escalate into many dangerous disorders including kernicterus or athetoid cerebral palsy.

Dr. Bruce Fagel, whose article, “Medical malpractice settlements: who benefits?” published in the Daily Journal, June 8, 2012, and who recently spoke at the Association of Southern California Defense Counsel, is a leading California medical malpractice lawyer and a licensed medical doctor. Dr. Fagel has successfully handled many birth injury cases such as kernicterus and cerebral palsy disorders resulting in a lifetime of problems for those inflicted including developmental disabilities, learning disabilities, movement difficulties, hearing loss and vision problems.

“A significant elevated bilirubin level or hyperbilirubinemia left untreated can escalate into many dangerous disorders including kernicterus or athetoid cerebral palsy to name a couple,” states Dr. Fagel. “The tragic thing about kernicterus and other disorders resulting from severe jaundice is they could have been prevented. Often this is a direct result of medical malpractice by the doctor.”

Jaundice is a yellow coloring of the skin, eyes, or other tissue areas that are common in many newborn babies. If the jaundice is severe and left untreated, the excess bilirubin travels from the blood stream into the brain tissues, where it will begin irreversible brain damage. “This is why a newborn that develops jaundice needs to be closely monitored. Mild jaundice will generally go away by itself after just a few days with regular feedings every two to three hours. However, hyperbilirubinemia will require the baby to be treated with phototherapy or a blood transfusion in order to bring the bilirubin level down to a safe level,” warns Dr. Fagel.

Hyperbilirubinemia or severe jaundice can also lead to athetoid cerebral palsy. A child with athetoid cerebral palsy may have problems with involuntary or uncontrolled movements, be unable to maintain posture which may affect sitting and walking, experience problems swallowing, slurred speech, low muscle tone, problems with speaking, feeding, and reaching for and grasping objects.

A doctor will perform a physical exam and blood tests to measure bilirubin levels to determine if it needs to be reduced. If kernicterus has occurred, prompt treatment may help prevent further brain damage from occurring. Long term treatment for a child with kernicterus will include special education, physical therapy, and speech therapy.

If kernicterus or cerebral palsy has been diagnosed, the parents should consult with a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible to investigate whether these disorders could have been prevented. Often the answers can be found in the medical records. If medical malpractice is the cause of the disorder, the family can move forward with a medical malpractice case in order to be compensated for the injuries.

Dr. Fagel warns parents if medical malpractice is determined to be the cause of kernicterus or cerebral palsy, there is a statute of limitations which provides a time limit for how long a family can wait to file a lawsuit before losing their opportunity to file a claim. Each state has its own statute of limitations and if the family waits too long, they may lose their ability to recover any damages.

For more information please visit kernicterus video.

About The Law Offices of Dr. Bruce G. Fagel & Associates
The Law Offices of Dr. Bruce G. Fagel & Associates specializes in medical malpractice cases resulting in serious injuries to victims. Cases include medical malpractice, birth injuries, cerebral palsy, kernicterus, surgical errors, brain damage, and wrongful death. Dr. Bruce Fagel has tried and settled more medical malpractice cases on behalf of injured parties than any other attorney in California, including obtaining the largest verdict in California history, $460 million dollars. The law firm has successfully obtained over one billion dollars in verdicts and settlements for their clients.

About Dr. Bruce Fagel
Dr. Bruce Fagel is a lawyer and a licensed medical doctor, specializing in medical malpractice. Dr. Fagel practiced emergency medicine for over 10 years before becoming an attorney. This background provides Dr. Fagel with the knowledge and expertise to represent his clients against negligent doctors, nurses, and hospitals.

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