Tuesday, February 20, 2007

some days are worse than others

picked up the phone far too many times...

Tuesday, February 06, 2007


Jaundice, a yellowing of the skin, is found in 60% of newborn babies. It is caused by elevated levels of bilirubin, which is a byproduct of dead red blood cells. It only costs $1 to test newborns for bilirubin levels. A good reason to test the 60% of newborns with yellow skin is that it could possibly lead to kernicterus, brain damage that will affect the baby for the rest of his/her life.

What upsets me is that the American Association of Pediatrics fails to take jaundice seriously, stating that they do not want to exhibit an "alarmist" approach to such a rare possibility of brain damage. Although about 40 of the 4 million babies born annually in the U.S. are affected with kernicterus, these 40 babies could have had a chance to live a normal lifestyle. Instead, they are inflicted with cerebral palsy (permanent brain damage) and lack the ability to live independently.

Cal, a 12-year old boy with kernicterus once told his mom, "When I grow up, I want to be the best daddy in the world-but if I have a baby, I'm afraid I'll drop it."

A prospective indicator of brain damage is a compelling reason to be a bit alarmist, no matter how "rare" this occurence is.

Saturday, February 03, 2007