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Looking at the causes and costs of cerebral palsy, P.2

In our last post, we began speaking about the various potential causes of cerebral palsy, and particularly situations where progressive jaundice can result in cerebral palsy. Typically, of course, jaundice is manageable enough that high bilirubin can be brought back down in a reasonable period of time. In some cases, though, failure to adequately monitor jaundice can have bad results for an infant.

Recent research has suggested a more effective way to monitor jaundice in preterm infants by means of skin testing. Apparently, the research shows that bilirubin levels in the skin surrounding the chest and back areas of preterm infants is a fairly closely match to bilirubin levels in the blood. This opens up the possibility of long-term monitoring of jaundice by a method which painless for the infant.

Commentators say the research holds promise for reducing the incidence of cerebral palsy among preterm infants due to jaundice. At present, neonatal jaundice occurs in at least 2 out of every 1000 infants born prior to the 30th week of gestation. For these infants, the ability to do long-term monitoring for jaundice in a relatively simple way could be critical to preventing jaundice-induced cerebral palsy.

Physicians who are responsible for monitoring the progress of jaundice, of course, are responsible for exercising good judgment, regardless of the equipment they have at their disposal. When a physician fails to follow an accepted standard of medical care, it may be possible for an injured patient, or his or her parents or guardians, to pursue compensation.

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