In this video, leading Medical Lawyer, Peter Stefanovic talks about hypoglycemia in newborn babies. If medical staff do not recognise and treat hypoglycemia properly, it can have serious implications for a baby's health, including brain damage.
If a baby has Hypoglycemia, baby's blood sugar (Glucose) is low. Glucose is the body's main source of energy.
Some babies are more at risk then others of hypoglycemia, for instance babies born to mothers who have diabetes. Babies are also susceptible if they:
- We're born prematurely or very small
- Had breathing difficulties at birth
- Have suffered excessive coldness or hypothermia or have had an infection.
Hypoglycemia in newborns can usually, with appropriate medical care, be quickly reversed. Unlike adults, however, babies cant tell us when their blood sugar is low so very careful monitoring of a newborn baby at risk is required. Often you can't tell just by watching the baby. Sometimes however, if baby's blood sugar is too low you may notice subtle signs. For instance he might be jittery or irritable- or very sleepy and floppy. If baby's blood sugar is very low he could start fitting or go into convulsions. These are signs that something very serious is happening and medical staff need to act quickly. A blood test is the only way to find out for sure what baby's blood sugar levels are.
If a baby's blood sugar level is low and this is not recognized and treated by medical staff it could put baby's health at serious risk. If it stays low for a long period of time it could even cause brain damage. If a newborn baby suffers harm because medical staff have failed properly to act in order to reverse hypoglycemia a claim for compensation can be brought on baby's behalf against the Hospital concerned.
I recently acted in just such a case. What made the case so interesting is that mother had already investigated the case with another Lawyer who had told her the case was unwinnable and should be abandoned! When she came to me with the case an obstetric expert, a consultant obstetrician and gynecologist, had provided a liability report concluding that there had been a negligent delay on the part of the medical staff delivering the baby but a consultant pediatric neurologist had said that baby's brain injury could not be linked to that delay. Mother had therefore been advised by her Lawyer that whilst he could probably prove that there had been a negligent delay in delivering baby he could not prove this had caused babies brain injury and therefore no claim for compensation could be brought. When the case came to me I was immediately concerned that nobody, including the experts instructed by the previous Lawyer, was able to explain how babies brain injury occurred. I therefore decided to look carefully at what had happened in the early neonatal period, which means the first few days after baby was born. It became clear, on reviewing the medical notes, that baby had had very low blood glucose levels during the first six days of life. I obtained a report from a consultant Pediatrician who concluded that the medical staff had been negligent in failing to take the necessary action to reverse babies hypoglycemia. A newly instructed consultant Pediatric neurologist gave the opinion that baby's brain injury was caused by his having been allowed to remain grossly hypoglycemic for a significant period of time. The hospital predictably denied the claim and Court proceedings were issued. The Hospital subsequently settled the claim with baby receiving a multi million pound damages award.
If you believe a child may have suffered harm because of a negligent failure to recognize and reverse hypoglycemia in the early neonatal period baby may be entitled to substantial compensation and Such a case should always be investigated.