Treating Properly: Understanding Jaundice In Infants As A Birth Injury
As a new parent, it can be overwhelming to think of all the potential illnesses and diseases your newborn child can be exposed to. One of the most common and easily treatable illnesses that can affect newborns is jaundice.
What Is Jaundice?
Jaundice is a yellow discoloration of the skin and eyes caused by elevated levels of bilirubin in the blood. It is a common condition that affects newborns, typically appearing during the first week of life. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment produced by the breakdown of red blood cells.
When the infant’s liver is not yet mature enough to process the bilirubin, it accumulates in the bloodstream, causing jaundice. Jaundice can be mild, moderate, or severe depending on the amount of bilirubin present in the blood. Symptoms of jaundice include yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes, dark urine, and pale-colored stools.
Causes Of Jaundice In Newborns
Prematurity: Premature infants are more prone to developing jaundice because their immature livers are not able to process bilirubin as quickly.
Blood Type Incompatibility: Babies born with an incompatible blood type (e.g. Rh incompatibility) may develop jaundice due to their bodies attacking the red blood cells of the baby and breaking them down, which causes an increase in bilirubin levels.
Oxygen Deprivation During Birth: Oxygen deprivation during birth can cause jaundice in newborns. When a baby experiences oxygen deprivation during birth, the body is unable to properly process and break down the bilirubin, resulting in jaundice. This can occur if the baby has a difficult delivery, there is a decrease in the oxygen supply to the baby, or the umbilical cord is compressed or compressed too tightly. In some cases, oxygen deprivation during birth can result in permanent brain damage or other birth injuries.
If a baby has suffered an injury due to oxygen deprivation during birth, the parents may be able to pursue a birth injury personal injury lawsuit. In these cases, it is important to hire a lawyer who specializes in birth injury cases. A lawyer can help to evaluate the situation, review medical records, and determine if the hospital or medical staff is responsible for the birth injury. The lawyer can also help to ensure that the parents receive the financial compensation they deserve for the injury.
Infection: Infections in the newborn can also cause jaundice as the body’s immune system works to fight the infection, it can also break down red blood cells and cause an increase in bilirubin levels.
Breastfeeding: Breastfeeding can also cause jaundice in newborns as the baby is not able to digest the breast milk as quickly, leading to an increase in bilirubin levels.
Medication: Certain medications given to the mother during labor can also cause jaundice in the newborn.
Liver Disease: Infants with certain liver diseases such as biliary atresia may develop jaundice as the liver is not able to process bilirubin.
Treatment Options For Jaundice
Phototherapy is a common treatment for jaundice in newborns. This involves exposing the baby to a special type of light, which helps to break down the bilirubin in the baby’s bloodstream. Phototherapy is typically used in moderate to severe cases of jaundice and involves placing the baby in a special bassinet with fluorescent lights above the baby. The baby is monitored closely during phototherapy and the lights are adjusted depending on the level of bilirubin in the blood.
In more severe cases of jaundice, a blood transfusion may be necessary. This involves replacing the baby’s blood with donor blood that is compatible with the mother’s blood type. The new blood helps to reduce the bilirubin levels in the baby’s body.
Exchange transfusions are the most extreme form of treatment for jaundice in newborns and are typically reserved for very high levels of bilirubin. During an exchange transfusion, the baby’s blood is removed from the body and replaced with donor blood that is compatible with the mother’s blood type.
Medications may be prescribed to help reduce the level of bilirubin in the baby’s body. These medications are typically prescribed for newborns with moderate levels of jaundice and can help to reduce the bilirubin levels in the body. The doctor will monitor the baby closely to ensure that the medication is working and the bilirubin levels are dropping.
It is important to do proper research about jaundice before deciding on a course of treatment for a newborn. Parents should be sure to discuss the symptoms of jaundice with their doctor and ask questions about the potential causes, treatments, and risks. Parents should also ask the doctor about any potential complications that could arise from the treatment.