Illinois Hyperbilirubinemia & Kernicterus Attorney
Bilirubin, a yellowish bile pigment, is a natural byproduct of hemolysis (hemoglobin breakdown inside red blood cells). If excessive bilirubin (hyperbilirubinemia) accumulates, it is toxic to fragile newborns. Symptoms of this condition, which is also called kernicterus, often include vomiting, lethargy, fever, and loss of appetite. These symptoms are simply annoying among adults. But in a newborn who’s only been alive for a few hours, they could cause a serious injury. These conditions have long-term effects as well, including muscle control and sensory issues.
Rh Disease (Rhesus Disease), a rare maternal condition, is the leading cause of hyperbilirubinemia and kernicterus. This condition is harmless to mothers. But it could cause the mother’s blood cells to attack and destroy the baby’s blood cells. Rh Disease is relatively easy to detect and treat. But since the disease is harmless to mothers, they often have few physical symptoms. Therefore, many doctors do not order the proper tests, or they do not properly follow-up on the test results.
In contrast, the visionary Illinois hyperbilirubinemia & kernicterus attorneys at Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman understand the short-term and long-term consequences of your legal claim. We never look for an easy way out or automatically follow the path of least resistance. Instead, we do what it takes to reduce the negative consequences of a serious birth injury, both now and many decades into the future.
Duty of Care in Birth Injury Claims
Checking for disease symptoms, running diagnostic tests, properly interpreting the results, and properly following-up on those results are all part of a doctor’s legal duty of care in these situations. This duty begins with the first file review or prenatal visit. It only ends when one party officially terminates the doctor-patient relationship.
Communication is the common denominator in all these areas. When doctors meet with their patients, they usually only listen for about eleven seconds before they redirect or interrupt them. Especially when rare conditions like Rh disease are an issue, that’s not very much interaction. This lack of communication also affects test result interpretation. Sometimes, items get lost in translation between patient care technicians and doctors.
Even worse, the communication might not occur at all. Some doctors over-delegate test result interpretation to less-qualified professionals. That over-delegation clearly violates the duty of fiduciary care.
Evidence in Medical Negligence Cases
A Chicago hyperbilirubinemia & kernicterus attorney can obtain compensation if the victim/plaintiff proves negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
This compensation usually includes money for economic losses, such as medical bills, and noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering. Additional punitive damages might be available as well, in some extreme situations.
Usually, the evidence in a medical negligence case includes medical records, the physician’s deposition, and witness statements. Medical records clearly establish the care the mother and baby did, or did not, receive. The doctor’s statement usually provides similar proof. Lay witnesses, like friends and family members, cannot testify about the underlying medical issues. But they can testify about the effects of a serious birth injury.
To help put all this evidence together, attorneys often partner with top doctors in the field who testify as expert witnesses.
Rely on an Experienced Chicago Cook County Attorney
Injury victims are usually entitled to significant compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced hyperbilirubinemia & kernicterus attorney in Chicago, contact Wais, Vogelstein, Forman, Koch & Norman by going online or calling 410-567-0800. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.