Mother calls for action on newborn jaundice 

03/04/2013

A Stretford mother is calling for more to be done to prevent babies from suffering a type of serious but preventable brain damage linked to jaundice after her son was affected by the condition. 

Kernicterus has had a severe impact on five-year-old Dilraj Singh, who has cerebral palsy, is unable to speak and has poor hearing and sight. Kernicterus is a complication of newborn jaundice which is caused when levels of bilirubin – the substance that causes yellowing of the skin and eyeballs – become too high and cross the membrane of the brain. High bilirubin levels need careful monitoring and urgent treatment with phototherapy or a blood transfusion or permanent brain damage can be caused. 

Urrvashi wants to raise awareness of kernicterus and the risks of newborn jaundice and has called for a national screening policy to be adopted. Urrvashi, 35, commented: “Having a child with special needs is hard; it can make or break you as a family. From my own experience of kernicterus, I feel that midwives really need to be more alert to the warning signs that a baby is in danger. We feel there were so many missed opportunities to help Dilraj. I didn’t realise that jaundice could be so dangerous, but I believe if the midwives who visited him had made the connection with brain damage, he would have been treated and his kernicterus could have been prevented.

“A screening policy for babies could prevent more children from being affected by kernicterus and help to stop more tragedies.”

Dilraj needs round the clock care and is totally dependent on others, meaning Urrvashi had to give up her job as a nursery nurse. 

Eddie Jones, Dilraj’s lawyer at JMW, commented: “Dilraj has been left severely disabled and is one of six children we are representing nationwide who developed kernicterus after having newborn jaundice. 

“Jaundice is a common condition in newborns and while in rare cases it can be serious, it’s completely treatable – that’s the tragedy here." 

Dilraj was born at Salford Royal Hospital completely healthy in March 2008. A few days after being discharged he was seen by community midwives based out of Trafford General Hospital. 

The midwives noticed Dilraj was jaundiced and Urrvashi says advised the family to put him in his Moses basket in sunlight – action that would have no impact at all. 

After becoming very worried about Dilraj, Urrvashi and her husband rushed him to Salford Royal Hospital, where he was later found to have very high bilirubin levels and given a blood transfusion. However by this point it was too late to save Dilraj from devastating brain damage.

Ends

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact Kelly Livesey on the details below:

Kelly Livesey

D. 0161 828 1868

E. kelly.livesey@jmw.co.uk  

Note to Editors

JMW Solicitors LLP is a leading Manchester law firm and offers a broad range of legal services to both commercial and private clients.JMW’s Clinical Negligence team is headed up by leading lawyer, Eddie Jones. For more than a decade he and his team have advised and represented thousands of victims of clinical negligence, and their relatives, and have obtained over 70 million in compensation for their clients, as well as providing the answers as to why their medical treatment has gone wrong.
http://www.jmw.co.uk/services-for-you/clinical-negligence/



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