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Jury awards $25 million to disabled boy for untreated jaundice

South Carolina readers may take an interest in a recent $25 million award rendered by a jury in the case of a boy who suffered severe brain damage from jaundice that went untreated. The boy, who is now 6 years old, was released by a Brooklyn, N. Y., medical center without an exam or follow up, despite the fact that he had rapidly yellowing eyes and skin. The hospital has denied any failure to diagnose jaundice and has pledged to appeal the jury's verdict.

According to the family, nurses ignored the mother's concerns and claimed that the condition would clear up on its own. However, the boy's condition continued to deteriorate until his parents rushed him to a different hospital. At the new hospital, the infant was diagnosed with hyperbilirubinemia, which is a severe form of jaundice that causes cerebral palsy and brain damage. The boy was given two blood transfusions, but it was too late to save the boy from the worst consequences of hyperbilirubinemia.

The child is now permanently handicapped and is not able to speak or walk. He requires 24-hour care, which his parents can provide if the $25 million dollar award stands. Jaundice is a common condition among newborns and is treatable when it is detected early. Physicians usually treat jaundice by placing infants under phototherapy lights. If a case is extreme, a doctor may perform a blood transfusion.

Modern advances in medicine have reduced the risks associated with pregnancy and birth; however, there are still things that can go wrong. When doctors or nurses are negligent in their care of newborns, the risk for birth injuries and complications increases. A lawyer with a background in medical malpractice cases may be able to obtain a substantial settlement for parents whose child has been harmed by negligent medical care.

Source: New York Post, "Disabled Brooklyn boy awarded $25 million in untreated jaundice case against New York Methodist Hospital", Doyle Murphy, November 19, 2013

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