An avoidable tragedy

Today a Haitian orthopedic surgeon asked for my help. He was seeing an adorable 15 month-old girl in a bright pink dress who was there “because she can’t sit or walk”.

After doing a full neurologic exam, it was clear she had something wrong with her brain. I then questioned the mother. She stated that there was a normal pregnancy and delivery. The girl was always healthy…..Well, except for one time. When she was just two days old, she got yellow. So yellow that she seemed to glow. “But other than that, she had no problems.”

To make a long story short, the girl had jaundice with no treatment and developed a devastating brain disease called kernicterus. Because of inadequate treatment, this child will have significant physical disabilities for the rest of her life.

Please see my post tomorrow to learn how we are currently trying to prevent this from ever happening again.

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