What is Bilirubin-Induced Neurologic Dysfunction (BIND)?
Bilirubin-induced neurologic dysfunction (BIND) refers to neurological problems, including brain damage, that occur when an infant has excessive levels of bilirubin in his or her system. Bilirubin is the byproduct of red blood cells that burst or break down naturally over time. Because infants have developing livers, which filter out bilirubin, some newborns’ bodies may have difficulty getting rid of the substance. In other cases, bilirubin build-up may be the result of an underlying medical condition. Whatever the cause, excessive bilirubin can lead to life-long neurological injuries if left untreated.
How is BIND Related to Jaundice?
Bilirubin contains a yellow pigment. As a result, when bilirubin builds up in an infant’s systems, his or her skin becomes yellow, a medical condition known as jaundice. Many infants have mild to moderate jaundice which usually appears between four to seven days after birth. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that doctors check for jaundice every eight to twelve hours during an infant’s hospital stay. Infants should also be checked for jaundice before they are discharged.
What Causes Bilirubin to Build up in an Infant’s System?
In some cases, an infant’s liver may not be developed fully in order to filter out excess bilirubin in the blood. In other cases, when a mother’s blood type doesn’t match the baby’s blood type, the baby’s body produces antibodies that break down red blood cells, resulting in a build-up of bilirubin. Such a build-up may also be the result of an underlying medical condition such as internal bleeding, sepsis, infections and serious liver problems.
Are Certain Infants at Risk of BIND?
Yes. Premature babies born before 38 weeks have a greater chance of developing BIND because their livers are likely to be underdeveloped. In addition, infants that experienced bruising during the labor process are also at risk. Finally, infants who have a blood type different that their mother’s blood type are also at risk of BIND.
What Complications can Result From Excess Bilirubin in an Infant’s System?
Left untreated, bilirubin build-up can lead to acute bilirubin encephalophy, a condition in which bilirubin affects the brain. If the brain damage is permanent, the condition is diagnosed as kernicterus, which causes involuntary and uncontrolled movements, hearing loss and improper development of tooth enamel. Excess bilirubin can also result in vision loss as well as problems with speech, cognition and language.
How are Infants With Excess Bilirubin Treated?
In many cases, infants are treated by phototherapy, a type of treatment in which they are exposed to a special light that breaks down bilirubin. In cases in which bilirubin build-up is caused by the infant having a different blood type than his or her mother, the baby is given a treatment to break down antibodies that rupture red blood cells.
How Law Offices of Thomas L. Gallivan, PLLC can Help
If your child suffers from BIND, Gallivan & Gallivan may be able to help. In some cases, doctors may fail to diagnose bilirubin build-up or fail to treat it in an appropriate and timely manner. We will thoroughly investigate your claim and recover compensation from those responsible for your child’s injuries.