Facing the Challenges of Neonatal Kernicterus Head On

Neonatal kernicterus is rare, because it is prevented by the practice of good medical care. However, “rare” is not good enough. Unlike some other birth disorders, kernicterus is 100% preventable.

When a baby has jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia), the bilirubin in the baby’s blood is too high. At what point does the bilirubin become toxic?  When does kernicterus brain damage occur?

The damage starts when the bilirubin is moving from the blood into the brain. This results in bilirubin encephalopathy (disorder or disease of the brain). The illness develops rapidly – progressing by the hour – and produces signature signs and symptoms. Deposits of bilirubin in certain parts of the brain cause the brain damage. On autopsy, this is revealed by yellow staining on the brain tissue. More importantly, the yellow staining can be seen on an MRI in a living newborn.

The Challenge of Preventing Neonatal Kernicterus

Despite the fact that it can be detected and stopped, kernicterus is not obsolete. Cases still occur in the United States. As birth injury attorneys, our stance is that kernicterus is the most easily preventable cause of infant brain damage and death in our country.

When a parent comes to Ratzan Law Group with a story of their child suffering from cerebral palsy, deafness or other brain damage caused by neonatal kernicterus, it is our hope that theirs is the last such story we ever hear. Our legal work helping kernicterus families can provide compensation that will take care of their children for the rest of their lives. Still, this is after the tragedy has occurred.

If you are an expecting parent, you can take action. In the event it is not standard procedure in your hospital, order a TSB test as part of your baby’s neonatal care. Alert your obstetrician and your pediatrician that you are doing so. 

New parents returning home with their newborn may find themselves in a crisis where, because they do not understand the illness, precious hours are lost before proper medical help occurs. If you are a parent of a newborn or an expecting parent, please take a moment to read these important symptoms of neonatal kernicterus to watch for

When You Need Help Pursuing Justice for Your Child

A malpractice lawsuit serves to bring whatever justice is possible from this point forth for pain and suffering, as physical and mental disabilities may plague the child throughout his or her life. Parents may sue to recover the extravagant medical expenses they now face, to help pay for lifelong rehabilitation and developmental needs.

If you suspect your child has suffered brain damage from neonatal kernicterus, we encourage you to call our birth injury attorneys. We cannot change the tragedy that has occurred, but we can help you get to the truth of why it happened, and protect your child’s rights to justice and maximum financial compensation for their life-altering injury.

Kernicterus Information Center – Ratzan Law Group