Bilirubin Medical Malpractice

Bilirubin is a yellowish-brown compound found in bile. It gets created when the liver breaks down old red blood cells. Bilirubin leaves from the body through the stool. When bilirubin levels are high, the skin may appear jaundiced (yellow). Bilirubin also affects the eye, giving it a yellow tint. 

High levels of bilirubin will lead to kernicterus. Kernicterus is a rare but severe disease that causes brain damage in infants. High levels of bilirubin can also lead to hearing loss, physical abnormalities, and even death. Therefore, babies who develop jaundice may be treated with phototherapy or a blood transfusion to decrease bilirubin levels.

Elevated bilirubin level

Elevated bilirubin level in newborns is not uncommon, especially in the first three days. Up to 50% of full-term newborns show elevated bilirubin levels within the first 24 hours. Premature babies have a greater chance of having elevated bilirubin levels. Immediately after being born, the newborn begins to break down excess blood cells. The newborn’s liver cannot process the extra bilirubin because the liver is not fully matured. The extra bilirubin cannot be processed the infant’s bilirubin level’s rise in the blood and other body parts. 

Increased bilirubin levels can damage a developing brain. This can lead to learning and developmental disabilities, eye movement problems, and hearing loss. Infants with elevated bilirubin levels need to be placed under bilirubin lights. The lights help the newborn break down bilirubin and lower the amount of bilirubin in the body. 

Untreated, elevated bilirubin levels can lead to kernicterus causing brain damage that will have lifelong consequences for the newborn. If your child has developed kernicterus after birth, there might be medical malpractice involved. There should be an immediate investigation of the delivery process and everything that followed the labor. 

If your baby suffers from kernicterus, it could be the result of medical malpractice or negligence. Contact an attorney today to have your case evaluated. CALL US ANYTIME (281) 475-4535 or fill out a consultation form here to start the process.