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Boyes Turner’s neonatal brain injury specialists recovered compensation for a child who suffered a kernicterus brain injury as a result of a failure to diagnose neonatal jaundice.

Jaundice is caused by excessive amounts of bilirubin in the blood. Bilirubin is a natural substance in the body which is processed by the liver and used to digest fats in the small intestine before leaving the body as waste. However, in excess it is dangerous as it can penetrate the blood-brain barrier, causing severe neurological injury.

Jaundice is common in newborn babies and often resolves without treatment. Neonatal (newborn) jaundice must be monitored carefully and if the baby’s bilirubin levels are exceeding safe levels, they must be treated with phototherapy (a special light treatment) or, in some cases, an exchange transfusion. Failure to diagnose neonatal jaundice or monitor and treat high bilirubin levels can cause the baby to suffer permanent brain injury and disability. This pattern of brain damage is known as kernicterus. 

In this case, the post-natal midwives’ failure to diagnose our client’s neonatal jaundice resulted in him developing  hyperbilirubinaemia (excessive bilirubin in his blood) after he left hospital. This caused permanent injury to his brain.

We pursued a claim for compensation against the defendant hospital and secured an out-of-court settlement for our client.

If you have suffered a serious injury or disability as a result of medical negligence and would like to find out more about making a claim, you can talk to one of our specialist solicitors, free and confidentially, by contacting us here.