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Medical Negligence

Neonatal Jaundice and Kernicterus Claims

Get expert legal advice from our nationally recognised medical negligence lawyers about your Neonatal Jaundice and Kernicterus claim, and find out how we can help you receive the compensation you or child deserve.


What is jaundice?

Most people are familiar with jaundice and believe it is harmless.

Jaundice occurs when bilirubin accumulates in the body. Bilirubin is a yellowish-brown substance found in bile. It is created after the body’s older red blood cells break down. Usually, bilirubin is removed via bowel movements or it is broken down in the liver.


What is kernicterus?

Newborn babies produce more red blood cells compared to adults, and have a higher turnover of the blood cells. A newborn baby’s liver (especially a baby born prematurely) is still developing and is not as effective in removing bilirubin, so they are at risk of jaundice. 

Jaundice can be treated easily if diagnosed early. However, if jaundice is severe and is left untreated in babies, they are in danger of developing kernicterus, also known as bilirubin induced encephalopathy. Kernicterus is a form of preventable brain damage occurring in newborns with untreated, severe jaundice.  It occurs when bilirubin builds up to extremely high levels and enters the brain.

Kernicterus is a very rare condition and devastating for affected babies and their families. The word kernicterus means yellow kern, kern being the structures of the brain that are most commonly affected. These include the basal ganglia, hippocampus and the nerves that control eye movement and hearing. The cerebellum can also be affected.


What injuries does kernicterus cause?

The damage resulting from kernicterus, and symptoms of jaundice, can include:

  • Cerebral Palsy
  • Visual problems
  • Hearing problems
  • Problems with mobility
  • Coordination difficulties
  • Epilepsy
  • Learning disabilities
  • Problems with speech and language
  • Problems swallowing
  • Problems controlling bowels and bladder leading to incontinence
  • Difficulties sleeping


Will it harm the NHS if I bring a claim for kernicterus?

The NHS has a well-deserved reputation as one of the best run healthcare organisations in the world. Most of its staff are highly qualified and have the patient’s best interests at heart.

However, as with all professions, the medical profession has a duty of care to the people it serves. If that duty of care is breached and a patient is injured as a direct consequence, the law allows that patient to be compensated as far as money can right the wrong.

The NHS has financial provision in place to compensate patients when medical negligence mistakes lead to avoidable injury and personal injury. The cost of clinical negligence claims is shared among all NHS Trusts under the Clinical Negligence Scheme for Trusts into which each trust pays every year. Trusts with fewer claims against them pay less into the scheme. It is therefore in every Trust’s interest to avoid substandard care.


What can you do to help me and my injured child?

We can offer you expert legal advice with your Neonatal Jaundice or Kernicterus NHS claim. Our nationally recognised medical negligence lawyers will handle your claim sympathetically and seek to ensure you receive the maximum claim compensation you or child are entitled to. We’ll always keep what matters to you at the centre of all that we do.


Find out how we can help you

We're ready to help you make your medical negligence compensation claim today. Contact our specialist solicitors for a free initial chat about your situation and find out how you can get started. Use our online enquiry form or call our specialist team on 01392 937 278.

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Medical Negligence Services

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