Failure to Treat Hyperbilirubinemia or Jaundice
Attorneys Assisting New Mexico Families in Birth Injury Lawsuits
When a baby is born, a physician will typically examine the baby to assess the baby’s health and to determine if the baby is suffering from any issues requiring treatment, such as jaundice. While jaundice is a common condition that is typically easily remedied, if it goes untreated, it can lead to significant health issues. If your child was harmed at birth due to a physician’s failure to treat hyperbilirubinemia or jaundice, you should consult an attorney regarding your potential claims. Our Albuquerque birth injury lawyers at the Branch Law Firm possess the skills and resources to help you seek a successful outcome.
Consequences of a Failure to Treat Hyperbilirubinemia or Jaundice
Hyperbilirubinemia, which is typically called jaundice, arises when a newborn baby’s blood has an excess of bilirubin, a protein produced by the breakdown of red blood cells. Indications that a newborn is suffering from jaundice include a yellow tint to the skin and eyes. While many newborns recover from jaundice without treatment or with a mild treatment, such as light therapy, untreated jaundice that is severe or lasts for an extended period can cause permanent harm. Specifically, it can lead to kernicterus, a neurological disorder caused by bilirubin in the brain that can lead to hearing loss, vision problems, brain damage, and athetoid cerebral palsy. Thus, if a doctor diagnoses a newborn infant with jaundice or hyperbilirubinemia but fails to treat the infant, and the infant subsequently suffers harm, this may constitute medical malpractice.
Proving Liability for a Birth Injury
A family affected by a birth injury can pursue damages from the health care provider responsible for the injury, but first they must meet certain requirements. Specifically, the law dictates that before any civil lawsuit alleging that a health care provider committed medical malpractice can be filed in a New Mexico court, the patient must file an application with the state medical review commission, setting forth the details of the alleged malpractice and allowing the commission to obtain any relevant medical records. A panel, which usually consists of three attorneys and three health care providers in the same field as the potential defendant, will review the evidence and hold an evidentiary hearing. After the hearing, the panel will render a decision as to whether there is substantial evidence that medical malpractice occurred and whether there is substantial evidence that the plaintiff was harmed by the alleged malpractice. If the panel finds in favor of the patient, it will fully cooperate with him or her in retaining a medical expert to testify at trial.
If a patient decides to proceed with a medical malpractice lawsuit after the panel’s decision, the issues are similar to the questions presented to the panel. Specifically, the patient and their medical malpractice lawyer must show that the defendant had a duty to provide the patient with care that met or exceeded the appropriate standard of care and that the defendant breached the duty, thereby committing malpractice. The patient must also show that the breach, rather than some other intervening cause, led to the patient’s harm. Patients who successfully prove liability may be awarded both economic and non-economic damages.
Explore Your Options with a Skillful New Mexico Attorney
When a child suffers harm due to an easily treatable condition, it often causes frustration, heartache, and substantial financial damages. If your child sustained a birth injury due to a doctor’s failure to treat hyperbilirubinemia or jaundice, it is in your best interest to confer with an attorney to discuss the compensation that you may be owed. At the Branch Law Firm, we will use any available evidence that supports your claims to advocate aggressively on your behalf. Our offices are located in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and we assist people in birth injury lawsuits in Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Roswell, Clovis, Hobbs, Los Alamos, Rio Rancho, Alamogordo, Las Vegas, Santa Fe, Carlsbad, Taos, Farmington, and Los Lunas. We can be reached at (800) 828-4529 or through the form online to set up a complimentary and confidential consultation.