Elena had a healthy pregnancy and natural water birth. Vasili was a full-term baby but was discharged on the same day of birth.
Shortly after Vasili was rushed into hospital with severe hyperbilirubinemia where he needed to be resuscitated. He was in intensive care for three weeks until Vasili was stable enough to return home. Unfortunately for the family life had changed forever!
Vasili showed early signs of newborn baby jaundice after he was born, and due to an inexperienced midwife, his condition was noted but not acted on until it was too late.
Kernicterus is caused by high levels of a substance called bilirubin which causes jaundice but is treatable with phototherapy or a blood transfusion. The key is to test the baby and refer for treatment when bilirubin (jaundice) reaches a certain threshold but midwives do not always realise how serious jaundice can be for babies. It can affect any baby but some are at greater risk and screening them would allow more careful monitoring by community midwives and hospitals.
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