Hyperbilirubinemia is essentially too much bilirubin in the blood and is one of the most common disorders in newborns.
Medical providers must take immediate action if hyperbilirubinemia is suspected as it can further cause bilirubin induced neurologic dysfunction, aka BIND.
BIND is irreversible and will impede your child from being able to live their best life. If your child suffers from BIND, keep reading to learn more about BIND and how you qualify for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Furthermore, I’ll share how you can speak with an experienced and trusted medical malpractice attorney who has a history of fighting bilirubin induced neurologic dysfunction malpractice lawsuits—at no-cost.
What is BIND?
Bilirubin is broken down in the liver and is found in bile, or waste, so it’s normal to have bilirubin in the body’s system.
Typically, low levels of bilirubin are not a concern. However, if your newborn has high levels of bilirubin in their system, they should be immediately seen by a medical provider to be carefully monitored.
Higher levels of bilirubin can further cause neonatal jaundice, which if left untreated can cause severe health complications, like bilirubin encephalopathy. It’s imperative that your medical provider act timely and does not delay the diagnosis.
There are two types of bilirubin encephalopathy—acute and chronic.
Acute encephalopathy caught early enough can actually be treated and leave little to no damage to your child’s brain.
Chronic bilirubin encephalopathy will have lifelong effects on your child’s development.
There are three phases of acute bilirubin encephalopathy
- Early Phase: This phase typically occurs in the first 3 – 5 days post-birth. Some of the most common symptoms to be on the lookout for are lethargy, poor feeding, slightly high pitch scream, poor sucking and overactive twitching or moving. These symptoms are commonly confused with sepsis and IVH.
- Intermediate Phase: The intermediate phase occurs between the first 5-7 days of life. Your baby will experience increased irritability, abnormal tone (too high or too low), fever, a high-pitched cry and extensive back-arching.
- Late Phase: After the first week, your baby may stop feeding completely. They may also be in a deep stupor, or coma. Your newborn may also experience visual and hearing impairments. Data shows at least 50% of newborns may experience seizures.
If BIND is left untreated, your child is at risk for chronic bilirubin encephalopathy.
Your child will have auditory and visual impairment, challenges with muscle movement and reflexes and even brain damage, such as cerebral palsy.
In the most severe cases, BIND can even cause death.
How does bilirubin cause brain damage?
High levels of bilirubin causes neurologic dysfunction, or brain damage, because if left untreated, the bilirubin will continue to build in your baby’s system, and eventually spread to the brain.
The brain tissue is very delicate, so any breach of the blood-brain barriers can cause birth injuries and lifelong damage to your child’s brain tissue.
Kernicterus is one of the conditions caused by hyperbilirubinemia.
Kernicterus causes permanent brain damage and further impedes your child’s movement, hearing, learning and development, and eyesight.
Your child may have learning disabilities, such as with social engagement or with their emotions. They may experience hearing loss or difficulties and may struggle with their vision, like looking upwards.
Bilirubin induced neurologic dysfunction is also associated with athetoid cerebral palsy.
Athetoid cerebral palsy is one of the four types of cerebral palsy and affects your child’s motor skills.
Many children with athetoid cerebral palsy struggle with involuntary muscle movements and coordination. They may also have trouble with fine motor movements, like buttoning their shirt.
Can I sue for Bilirubin-Induced Neurologic Dysfunction
If your child was diagnosed with a type of bilirubin induced neurologic dysfunction, then call an experienced and trusted medical malpractice attorney to discuss filing a claim against your medical provider, and possibly the hospital.
Bilirubin-induced neurologic dysfunction can be prevented if caught and treated promptly.
There are several instances that could be grounds for a legal pursuit. This can include, but is not limited to:
- Delayed diagnosis or misdiagnosis
- Not ordering blood tests or screenings to ensure a diagnosis
- Delayed treatment
- Error in treatment
Every medical provider and hospital has a duty to provide their patients with the widely accepted and used protocol of treatment.
This includes observing and monitoring symptoms, ordering the necessary screening and tests to eliminate and ensure a diagnosis. And furthermore, ordering and administering treatment in the required time.
If you suspect your medical provider or the hospital they were providing care under, did not provide you with the standard level of care, and you or your newborn sustained birth injuries and health complications, then file a medical malpractice lawsuit.
How to get started with your malpractice claim
The first step is reaching out to a medical malpractice attorney.
You’ll want to hire someone with experience in medical malpractice and negligence, and especially with bilirubin induced neurologic dysfunction lawsuits.
It would be in your best interest to gather all of the necessary files and documentation before you reach out to someone so that you get the most out of your consultation.
This would be any evidence, or proof, of the negligence and injuries, and can include doctor notes, prescriptions, photos, receipts, tax returns and more.
It’s also important to note that you only have so much time to file a medical malpractice lawsuit due to Michigan’s Statute of Limitations.
The statute of limitations is essentially the deadline to file. For medical malpractice lawsuits in Michigan, this is typically two years after discovery of the injury. However, there are other laws involved that can influence this timeline.
The statute of limitations should not impede you from reaching out to an attorney, because they can explain what they mean for your case.
When you meet with an attorney, they’ll ask many questions to determine the factual basis of your claim and get the full picture of your lawsuit.
If your newborn has sustained serious neurologic disorders due to hyperbilirubinemia, then don’t wait any longer to seek legal help.
The attorneys at Grover Lewis Johnson have over 25 years of legal expertise and have experience in winning bilirubin-induced neurologic dysfunction lawsuits.
Fill out our intake today to receive a free case review.