Paediatrician, Dr Marguerite Herschel explains to an emotional mum, whose baby has jaundice, what exactly jaundice is and what treatment doctors use to solve the problem.
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Leticia Huskey Ortega: Just told me that the baby has jaundice and the baby is going to have to stay here in hospital for few days and check it. It justn’t make sure that we all just know he is okay but they first told me I thought that they will tell me that, he will stay, I leave and I couldn’t stay here with him but he only had me. Dr. Marguerite Herschel: So step number one is to identify that the baby has jaundice and we can’t do that just by looking at the baby and for what the level of bilirubin is. Bilirubin is a molecule that comes from the breakdown of red blood cells and the disintegration of the molecule of hemoglobin. All of us are making bilirubin all the time but babies make more bilirubin than adults and they have trouble getting rid of it because the liver that is involved in getting rid of that bilirubin molecule doesn’t work as well. The problem is if bilirubin gets too elevated in the blood it goes into the brain and causes permanent irreversible total brain damage and this is a completely preventable condition it should never be allowed to happen. Dr. Jeanette Hoenig: We have what’s called phototherapy or light therapy and we put the babies under there that the bilirubin gets too high to bring it down and to avoid the brain damage. Dr. Marguerite Herschel: So the baby was identified as having hyperbilirubinemia. The next step is to ask ourselves why, so then we are going to do a series of diagnostic tests to help us figure out and also talk to the mother about the breast feeding and also do a physical exam on the baby and this baby has several risk factors for jaundice namely bruising of the face and possibly its not clear to me right now whether the feedings have not been optimal or not. Leticia Huskey Ortega: They said they checked him out and I know he is here and he is going to get the best help. So, I feel better so I’m not worried, I’m not worried about what’s going to happen at the hospital because I don’t get this care.
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