Bilirubin is a chemical that occurs naturally in the body as the result of normal red blood cell function, but too much bilirubin can be toxic. Infants can’t process and get rid of bilirubin as well as adults, so it can build up. This is what causes jaundice – the yellowish skin color some newborns get. It’s fairly common in newborns, but it becomes serious if it’s not diagnosed and treated right away.
If bilirubin levels get too high, the bilirubin can reach the brain and cause serious damage, leading to neurological disorders, cerebral palsy, vision loss, and hearing loss. High levels of bilirubin can even be fatal. Treatment is usually simple. Most often, babies get phototherapy, which is when they’re put under special blue lights or wrapped in a special blanket.
Because jaundice is so common and quite simple to diagnose, the failure of a health care professional to treat high bilirubin can be negligence. If a doctor fails to diagnose or treat, or if there is a delay in diagnosis or treatment, it can be medical malpractice. A medical malpractice lawsuit in these cases seeks compensation for permanent injury or disability, including medical expenses (past and future). If medical malpractice leads to death, the parents of the child can sue for wrongful death.
Before pursuing a medical malpractice lawsuit, an attorney gets the opinion of a medical professional, such as a doctor who has experience diagnosing and treating high bilirubin and knows the proper standard of care. This doctor will give their opinion on whether your child’s condition was likely caused by medical malpractice.
Injury attorneys charge on a contingency basis. You should not have to pay anything upfront and you shouldn’t owe anything if you don’t win your case. If your case is successful, either at trial or because you reach a settlement agreement, you pay your attorney a portion of what you recover.
Find an attorney who not only has experience in medical malpractice cases but also has the resources, experts and desire to take your case to trial if necessary. This is especially true for a bilirubin lawsuit case as very few law firms have real experience with those types of cases. If you need help finding a medical malpractice attorney for a bilirubin or other birth injury case, let us know. Our goal is to answer your questions in a way that makes sense and recommend an excellent attorney based on your needs. Contact us at (312) 346-5320 or (800) 517-1614, or contact us online. It’s free and confidential.