San Francisco Kernicterus Attorney
Newborn Jaundice, Kernicterus & Medical Malpractice Lawsuits
Jaundice, a condition characterized by the yellow color seek in the skin of newborns, is caused by excessive bilirubin in the blood. While some degree of jaundice is common in newborns, severe jaundice can become a medical emergency when left untreated and may cause a condition known as kernicterus – a type of brain injury that results from high bilirubin levels.
Kernicterus is a serious birth injury that can result in permanent and life-altering disabilities, but it is preventable with appropriate medical care. If your child was diagnosed with kernicterus due to a medical provider’s failure to provide necessary treatment or delay in diagnosing and treating, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
Bostwick & Peterson, LLP is a San Francisco-based law firm known nationally for litigating medical malpractice and birth injury cases. We can help you understand your options for pursuing legal action during a FREE case evaluation.
Millions Recovered for Birth Injury Victims Nationwide
Bostwick & Peterson, LLP is a U.S. News – Best Lawyers®“Best Law Firms” Tier 1 Medical Malpractice and Personal Injury Law Firm that has won record results in complex medical negligence cases. Our award-winning lawyers have recovered more than $1 billion in compensation for our clients, including millions for families who have suffered preventable birth injuries.
Examples of our birth injury case results:
- $17M – Newborn brain damage due to failure to treat infection in mother. This is believed to be the largest malpractice recovery in California state history (2019).
- $14M – Severe brain injury to 3-day-old baby due to a laparoscopic surgical error at a California University hospital. This was the largest malpractice settlement in California at the time (2018).
- $11.4M – Brain damage and cerebral palsy resulting from failure to monitor fetus. This was the largest malpractice in California at the time (2010).
- $11M – Failure to diagnose retinopathy of prematurity in premature triplets, resulting in neonatal blindness injuries. This settlement was the largest of its type in Hawaii history.
- $10M - Birth injuries resulting from failure to promptly deliver a baby when fetal monitoring indicated potential problems. This was a record settlement for an obstetrical case in the state where it was obtained.
- $7.1M – Baby born with cerebral palsy as a result of fetal distress (non-reassuring fetal monitoring strips) and failure to timely intervene. This was a record settlement in Mid-America.
- $3.5M – Genetic malpractice involving lab errors and failure to diagnose cystic fibrosis.
When Is a Case of Kernicterus Medical Malpractice?
The U.S. CDC and the medical community at large is clear on brain damage arising from jaundice:
“No baby should suffer brain damage from untreated jaundice.”
Though jaundice in newborns often resolves on its own, there are cases where jaundice can develop aggressively into hyperbilirubinemia or kernicterus. Providers must be able to recognize when a case of jaundice is severe and must appropriately monitor, intervene, and timely treat babies to avoid potentially devastating health outcomes.
Some accepted standards and protocols that may apply in cases of severe jaundice:
- Assessing risks for jaundice complications prior to birth, such as previous children with jaundice or prematurity.
- Monitoring newborns for signs of jaundice or other infections immediately after birth, during the first two days of life, and re-evaluating babies a minimum of five days after birth.
- Ordering appropriate tests, including blood tests for bilirubin levels.
- Identifying jaundice symptoms or infections and intervening promptly.
- Providing appropriate and timely treatment, such as phototherapy, which may involve placing the baby under special blue lights or wrapping them in a fiber-optic “bili-blanket” to remove bilirubin from the blood before it can cause kernicterus and permanent damage, treatment of an underlying infection, or blood transfusion.
Statistically, kernicterus is rare, and when a child does develop kernicterus due to excessive jaundice, it warrants further investigation to determine if medical malpractice may have occurred. Our San Francisco-based attorneys at Bostwick & Peterson can help you evaluate your child’s case of kernicterus and whether you may have a viable malpractice lawsuit.
Compensation for Kernicterus
Babies who suffer kernicterus can be left with permanent disabilities and deficits that will impact their lives and the lives of their families forever. In addition to emotional suffering, families will often incur considerable expenses caring for a child with special physical or emotional needs over the course of their life.
When a medical malpractice lawsuit is successful, families who bring kernicterus claims can recover compensation for:
- Future medical expenses
- Costs of needed future therapy, medical treatment, medical devices, and assistive care
- Physical and emotional pain and suffering
- Lost income and lost future earnings
Determining whether a provider’s substandard care constitutes malpractice and serves as grounds for legal action requires a personalized evaluation of your case. Our team at Bostwick & Peterson, LLP is readily available to help you assess your legal options and discuss how we can help.
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James S. Bostwick and Erik L. Peterson have been named top-rated medical malpractice attorneys in Northern California.
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James Bostwick & Erik Peterson are listed in the Top 100 Trial Lawyers.
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