The failure of a doctor to follow-up with an infant’s extreme case of jaundice has led to irreversible brain injuries and a jury-ordered award of $46.5 million in damages.
In this issue, we’ll talk about the specifics of the case.
What is Jaundice?
Jaundice is a yellow discoloration in an infant’s eyes and skin due to excess levels of bilirubin, which is the yellow pigment of red blood cells.
The Case at a Glance
Shortly after the infant was delivered by C-section, a blood test showed a high risk of extreme jaundice. Even though a nurse noticed jaundice, mother and child were discharged from the hospital with orders to return in 10 days.
Three days later, the mother reported to the doctor’s office that her child was lethargic and crying in a shrill voice. She was told by a nurse to call back the following day.
After trying to reach the doctor several times the next day, the mother was able to secure an appointment with the doctor, who drew blood and made note that the child was jaundiced before sending the family home.
When the blood test results were made known to the doctor, he called for the family to meet him at the hospital so that light treatment could begin.
Unfortunately, the prolonged exposure to the high bilirubin levels caused by the inaction of the medical staff led directly to the infant developing irreversible brain injuries.
The Jury’s Decision
In their ruling, the jury found the doctor and his office to be responsible for 85% of the negligence, while the hospital was found to be responsible for the remaining 15%.
$43 million was awarded for damages to the child for extensive medical treatment the rest of her life and $3.5 million to the parents for support they’ll provide.
The Duty of the Doctor
It’s the responsibility of the doctor to recognize the symptoms and signs of certain conditions and determine the next course of action. If there is a delayed diagnosis or the doctor is unable to diagnose, it’s the patient who will suffer.
If you’ve experienced a case like this, we invite you to call us here at The Fitzgerald Law Firm. We’ll aggressively fight for the rights of your family!
For a free consultation, call us at 800-323-9900.