Despite advances in neonatal care, preventable injuries to newborns are still prevalent in the United States. Jaundice, a common medical condition in infants, is characterized by yellow tinting of a newborn’s skin and the whites of the eyes (conjunctiva). This yellowing is a sign that there is too much bilirubin (a substance formed by the breakdown of red blood cells) in the baby’s blood. Although most jaundice resolves without causing any harm, it is important that bilirubin levels are carefully monitored in all babies with jaundice because bilirubin is a toxic substance that can rise to dangerous levels in infants.

If severe jaundice (hyperbilirubinemia) is not treated, it can lead to serious lifelong problems such as kernicterus. Kernicterus is a type of permanent brain damage that occurs in a newborn when bilirubin builds up to very high levels and spreads to the baby’s brain, where it infiltrates brain tissue and causes damaging swelling of the brain (encephalopathy). Kernicterus, also called acute bilirubin encephalopathy, causes permanent brain damage that could have otherwise been prevented.

Symptoms of kernicterus can include:

  • Extreme sleepiness and lethargy (the baby may have difficulty waking up or can’t be kept awake, does not respond to touching or does not startle from sudden movements).
  • A very abnormal, high-pitched cry.
  • Poor muscle tone – the baby may seem “floppy” and weak.
  • A fever that occurs along with any of these other symptoms.

Approximately 60% of term, and 80% of pre-term, babies develop jaundice in the first week of life and about 10% of breastfed babies are still jaundiced at 1 month of age. Therefore, it is imperative that jaundice is properly recognized, monitored (a simple blood test identifies the baby’s bilirubin level) and treated as soon as possible (typically with phototherapy and, if necessary, blood transfusions), before it develops into kernicterus. If the symptoms of hyperbilirubinemia or kernicterus are not recognized and treated by medical staff, it is medical negligence.

Our experienced attorneys fight for individuals who have been negatively impacted by the negligence of others.  If you would like to discuss your child’s potential claim arising from a brain injury, the attorneys at Yost Legal Group are experienced professionals ready to investigate your claim with compassion and determination.  For a free consultation, please call us at 1-800-YOSTLAW.


Hospital-acquired conditions, also known as “never events”, are particularly awful medical mistakes that should not ever occur. Some examples of these preventable errors include:

  • Operating on the wrong place on the patient’s body
  • Discharging a newborn to the wrong parents
  • Leaving a foreign object, such as a scalpel or sponge, inside the body
  • Mismatched blood transfusion
  • Causing an air embolism during treatment of a patient

Unfortunately, not all medical mistakes are avoidable at all times. In 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported medical errors account for as many as 98,000 deaths per year. A more recent study specific to surgical errors conducted in 2013, found that more than 4,000 surgical “never events” occur annually in the United States.

Due to the fact that these events are preventable, health care organizations are attempting to get rid of them completely and health insurance providers, including Medicare and Medicaid, are no longer paying for costs related to hospital-acquired conditions (HACs). Also, many of these “never events” are being openly reported by the public. All of these strategies aim to inspire hospitals and medical professionals to accelerate the progress of patient safety.

Never events within hospitals can point to a major safety problem within an organization. It has been reported these error rates are much higher in the U.S. than in other developed countries such as United Kingdom, Germany, Canada, New Zealand and Australia. Some states, such as Minnesota (the first state to pass a statute that required obligatory reporting), have enacted legislation requiring reporting of hospital-acquired conditions but not all states are required to do so. It has been up for debate whether or not required reporting of HACs has affected how frequently they occur.

As the term “never events” indicates, these events should under no circumstance be occurring however, they continue to occur. If you or a loved one feel you are the victim of a medical mistake contact The Yost Legal Group today at 1-800-YOST-LAW (800-403-7259). When you call, you will speak with an experienced Baltimore Medical Malpractice attorney absolutely FREE.

The attorneys at Yost Legal Group are experienced, caring professionals ready to investigate your claim with compassion and determination. Call us today to receive a free, confidential consultation about your possible case.

At The Yost Legal Group, we will investigate every detail of your situation at no cost to you, and fight hard to ensure that your rights are protected.

We handle all cases on a contingency fee basis. This means you will never pay an attorney’s fee up front, and you owe us nothing unless we win your case.


Sleep Apnea Sufferers Have a Higher Risk of Hypoxia During Surgery

Sleep apnea is a disorder where breathing repeatedly stops and starts while the individual is asleep. Since it is a disruption to REM sleep, those affected often feel fatigued during the day or wake up with headaches and have difficulty with irritability and paying attention. It is also uncontrollable, which can make it potentially dangerous to those who suffer from it.

Sleep apnea can cause complications when a patient is put under anesthesia for surgery. Anesthesia is a temporary state of unconsciousness. It slows down heart rate and relaxes the patient, which can then cause more intense breathing issues for those with sleep apnea.

Patients who have sleep apnea have an increased chance of complications during anesthesia including:

  • Hypoxia
  • Pneumonia
  • Difficult Intubation
  • Heart Attack (MI)
  • Pulmonary Embolism (PE)

When undergoing surgery it is important to inform your doctor if you have sleep apnea. However, most individuals who have sleep apnea are unaware that they even suffer from it. Before surgery takes place, it is the responsibility of your doctor to conduct a thorough preoperative assessment to ensure that the patient will be safe once in surgery.

Post-operative patients should also be closely monitored for hypoxia or other complications. Hypoxia is a life-threatening condition that occurs when a person is not receiving enough oxygen, such as when the airway is blocked, or breathing is too shallow, too slow, or breathing stops altogether. Hypoxic injuries include tissue and organ damage, heart attacks, brain injury and even death.

Symptoms of hypoxia include:

  • Skin, lips and nail beds turning blue (cyanosis)
  • Fast heart rate (tachycardia)
  • Rapid breathing (tachypnea)
  • Shortness of breath (dyspnea)
  • Coughing
  • Confusion or loss of consciousness.

When any of these symptoms occur the most important thing is to get oxygen back into the body. Hospital professionals may do this by delivering oxygen through at tube into the nose or mouth, or a breathing machine may be used for more severe cases.

If you or a loved one experienced hypoxia or any other complication after surgery because a health care professional failed to take the necessary precautions to ensure your safety, call The Yost Legal Group at 1-800-YOST-LAW (967-8529) for a free consultation. Our experienced attorneys at Yost Legal Group fight hard for individuals who have been negatively impacted by the negligence of others and are always ready to investigate your claim with compassion and determination.

The Yost Legal Group – Experienced Attorneys Dedicated to Protecting Your Rights