Hyperbilirubinemia Symptoms and Birth Injuries

Perry Larkin | January 22nd, 2013

Birth DefectsBabies born with a condition known as hyperbilirubinemia show classic symptoms of jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin. The baby may not respond normally to touch. Hyperbilirubinemia can result in seizures, kernicterus, cerebral palsy and/or hearing loss.

Jaundice in infants happens in over 60% of newborns. Because of that, doctors might ignore the early warning signs of hyperbilirubinemia. This can result in preventable injuries. If found early, doctors can use such techniques as transfusions, phototherapy, fiber optic blankets and other strategies.

Factors and birth injuries from hyperbilirubinemia

If the bilirubin levels are too high in a newborn, hyperbilirubinemia can result. It is caused by too much bilirubin being present in the blood. Bilirubin is a byproduct that occurs after the breaking down of red blood cells. If the infant’s liver does not function properly, there can be a buildup of bilirubin.

If the symptoms of jaundice are not treated in a timely fashion, the levels of bilirubin can elevate to dangerous levels. If this happens, it can result in brain damage as the substance enters brain tissue.

The factors that can lead to a newborn suffering from hyperbilirubinemia include:

• Liver function problems

• The baby having physiological problems adjusting to life outside the mother’s womb

• Hemolysis—also known as Rh disease

• Newborn refusing breast milk and becoming dehydrated

High levels of bilirubin, left untreated, can lead to severe birth injuries such as:

• Bilirubin newborn induced encephalopathy

• Kernicterus

• Cerebral Palsy

• BIND—bilirubin induced neurological dysfunction

Blood tests can indicate hyperbilirubinemia

The baby, at birth, should be monitored by the pediatrician or neonatologist for levels of bilirubin. This can be done via blood test. Hyperbilirubinemia is not preventable, but it is very important to detect and treat it early before it causes serious damage. If the medical staff has failed to properly treat hyperbilirubinemia or test for it, the risk for permanent damage is increased. If there is evidence of medical negligence or malpractice, a lawsuit may be the best course of action for a family to recover compensation for their child’s injuries.

Contact a birth injury attorney at Balkin & Eisbrouch

Balkin & Eisbrouch has over forty years of experience in assisting plaintiffs who have filed cases due to birth injuries such as those that have happened as a result of hyperbilirubinemia.

If a child suffers from long-term damage due to hyperbilirubinemia or other conditions that were caused or made worse due to medical mistakes, the costs can be both emotional and financial. A child with a brain injury may require special education, constant care and medical treatment over the long-term. There are multiple other potential costs. Many families have been helped by Balkin & Eisbrouch to receive compensation for a preventable birth injury.

Do you believe your child has been the victim of medical malpractice that led to a birth injury? Contact our law offices at 855-60-BIRTH to schedule an appointment to discuss your case. There is no charge for a consultation and you pay no money unless you win compensation. Call Balkin & Eisbrouch today.