Case Studies

Negligence by midwifery team leading to kernicterus brain damage


We are representing a young boy who has athetoid cerebral palsy and hearing loss, with learning difficulties, enamel dysplasia and impaired vertical eye movements, due to his form of brain damage called kernicterus.

Kernicterus is a rare but serious complication of untreated jaundice in babies. It is caused by excess bilirubin damaging the brain or central nervous system. Initial symptoms in babies include decreased awareness of the world around them, muscles becoming floppy and difficulties in feeding. As kernicterus progresses, additional symptoms can include seizures (fits) andĀ arching of theĀ neck or spine.

Our client was delivered safely but suffered a neonatal collapse leading to pneumonia and septicaemia. He had been jaundiced soon after birth but despite his mother repeatedly raising concerns about his health, he did not receive the attention and medical care he required to prevent his condition from deteriorating.

We are advising on a claim that the midwifery team at the hospital negligently allowed our client to deteriorate to the point of collapse with cardio-respiratory arrest, and then secondly failed to treat his jaundice and to monitor the levels of serum bilirubin to prevent them rising to a toxic level that caused kernicterus.

The case is being handled by Alison Johnson, associate director in the clinical negligence team at our Basingstoke office.


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Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP

Penningtons Manches Cooper LLP is a limited liability partnership registered in England and Wales with registered number OC311575 and is authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.

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