Hyperbilirubinemia Risk Factors
At the Boston-based law firm of Todd & Weld LLP, we have developed a nationwide practice when it comes to helping families whose children have been diagnosed with kernicterus. Not only are we well versed in how to help families pursue litigation resulting from medical malpractice and negligence leading problems resulting from this medical condition, but we are a trusted resource for parents and families who need more information.
What is BiliTool?
The American Academy of Pediatrics has developed an excellent user-friendly tool that parents can use to ascertain the level of risk that their infant is at for kernicterus. This tool is known as BiliTool. This tool was also specifically developed and designed to help clinicians assess the risks toward the development of hyperbilirubinemia or "jaundice" in newborns over 35 weeks' gestational age. The Academy also adopted revised guidelines that can be used to provide a framework for the prevention and management of hyperbilirubinemia in newborn infants of 35 or more weeks of gestation who do present with these risk factors.
Determining Neonatal Hyperbilirubinemia
It is important to note that according to these recommendations, every newborn should be assessed, after delivery and prior to discharge from the hospital, for the risk of developing hyperbilirubinemia. The following tests are highly advisable:
- The hour-specific nomogram is the best documented method for assessing risk of and diagnosing hyperbilirubinemia
- There are other identified risk factors for the development of severe hyperbilirubinemia that can be evaluated for as well
Phototherapy nomogram is another prescribed test
On this nomogram, infants are designated as “higher risk” because of the potential negative effects of the conditions listed on albumin binding of bilirubin, which is the crucial blood-brain barrier. The susceptibility of the brain cells to damage by bilirubin is critical and can lead to many different long-term problems and disabilities.
Kernicterus is a preventable condition caused by excessive jaundice in newborn babies. While many newborns have jaundice and recover with correct treatment, others develop severe and permanent problems because health care providers regrettably failed to appreciate the severity and risks of the condition and failed to properly treat it. As a result, these children develop cerebral palsy, auditory processing problems, vision difficulties and other serious conditions.
We invite people who access this site to call us for assistance in understanding the risk assessment, BiliTool, protocols that medical professionals should be using and other questions they may have regarding this condition, its treatment and potential claims from medical mismanagement resulting in a missed or mishandled diagnosis.
To learn how Todd & Weld LLP can advocate for you in a kernicterus case, contact our lead kernicterus practice area partner Link to Contact Us, lawyer Jeffrey N. Catalano, at 617-391-0591.