Hypoglycemia Birth Injury

Medical malpractice cases involving birth injuries from hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)hyopglycemia birth injuries

Hypoglycemia is a condition in which a person's blood glucose levels fall below normal levels to a level that causes the brain not to function normally. As a result, the brain shuts down functions that it does not feel are necessary. This may lead to varied reactions that can cause catastrophic impact, particularly on an infant. These risks include loss of cognitive function, speech problems, and anxiety attacks, among others.

As symptoms are sometimes mild and resolve after eating foods or fluids containing carbohydrates, hypoglycemia can often go undiagnosed. However, some more serious health issues can lead to hypoglycemia including liver or pancreatic problems and diabetes mellitus. It is important that hypoglycemia is diagnosed early to ensure that there are not more serious issues involved during the pregnancy. 

What Causes Hypoglycemia in Newborns?

Hypoglycemia in newborns is often caused by the failure to properly control the mother's diabetes.  Other factors include a mother who received poor nutrition, and when mother and child have incompatible blood types. 

Mother's Hypoglycemia

Symptoms of hypoglycemia during pregnancy are similar and include shaking, sweating, hot flashes, anxiety attacks, intense hunger, dizziness, headache, confusion, vision difficulties and sudden irritability. Hypoglycemia in pregnancy is usually not diagnosed until labor though symptoms may be present before that time.

How to Spot Malpractice

Normal glucose is between 60 and 100 mg/dl. Anything lower than that could deprive the body's cells of a vital source of energy. Medical malpractice occurs when a physician ignores the mother's complaints of hypoglycemia or blood work that clearly shows low blood sugar. Similarly, medical malpractice may happen if a physician fails to respond to child's low blood sugar after birth. Hypoglycemia is a perfectly treatable condition, but it requires paying attention to the signs and symptoms. 

Hypoglycemia should be treated immediately upon noticing symptoms to prevent effects such as low blood sugar and hypoglycemia in the unborn child. In diabetics, the risk of miscarriage, stillbirth, fetal macrosomia (high birth weight), congenital malformation increases with worsening glycemic control. Unfortunately, treatment can be difficult as often pregnant women are prone to dizzy spells and loss of consciousness.

Preventative care includes proper nutrition and evenly spaced meals, which often includes consultations with a physician and dietician to ensure adequate glucose levels are maintained throughout the day for the duration of the pregnancy.

The Child's Hypoglycemia

Neonatal hypoglycemia occurs when a newborn child's blood sugar drops to an abnormally low level. The appropriate levels change with age.  But, by way of example, normal glucose level for a 40 minutes old child is approximately 40 mg/dL. Low blood sugar can cause brain starvation at a time when children need brain development the most. From the doctor's standpoint, there is no sign that the child is injured - you have to see the hypoglycemia coming.

How do you see the hypoglycemia coming?  There are several risk factors. The most important is growth retardation with low birth weight. Additionally, the presence of possible fetal compromise coupled with the need for post-delivery resuscitation, are also risk factors for the development of hypoglycemia. when you have these factors, glucose monitoring is indicated.

The peer-reviewed medical research makes clear that severe or prolonged hypoglycemia is associated with neurological injury to newborn children. The probability is high that infants with severe hypoglycemia or with abnormal imaging studies will manifest subsequent neurological and neurodevelopmental problems. 

Because neonatal hypoglycemia is a common disorder that may result in serious neurologic sequelae if left untreated, screening strips and devices should never be used as a basis for the diagnosis of neonatal hypoglycemia without confirming the diagnosis by measuring the plasma glucose in the laboratory utilizing something called the glucose oxidase method. Screening test results with blood glucose values less than 40mgs/dL should be immediately followed up with this better test. 

How do you treat a baby with hypoglycemia?  Treating a baby with hypoglycemia can be as easy as giving the child a glucose and water mixture.  The key is getting the glucose levels right.  The failure to take the simplest of steps to help the child can lead to lifelong injuries that change the future of a newborn baby. 

How Do You Know Whether Your Child Suffered a Hypoglycemia Birth Injury

Initially, It is hard to know whether your child has a birth injury. The signs of hypoglycemia during the infancy are subtle and nonspecific. They include irritability, hypotonia, jitteriness, hypothermia, lethargy and poor feeding

Another sign of a problem is a delay in reaching developmental milestones. But children miss milestones for many reasons, many of which are harmless and will resolve quickly or over time. Certainly, if there is evidence in the child's records that suggest the possibility of a brain injury and there are significant delays in meeting milestones, the child may get an MRI that looks to see if there is a loss of white matter loss in the brain. 

Birth injuries from hypoglycemia often show on an MRI as "diffuse lesions" in the brain. Periventricular leukomalacia is a brain injury that can be caused by hypoglycemia. But it is the most common ischemic brain injury in premature infants so medical experts are critical to sorting out whether the injury was from hypoglycemia. Another possible sign of hypoglycemia brain injury: some experts say that hypoglycemia injuries tend to be occipital injuries.

Malpractice Settlements and Lawsuits Involving Birth Injuries from Hypoglycemia

If you believe your child has a brain injury from hypoglycemia, you may have a medical malpractice case for which you and your child could receive compensation. If so, call 800-553-8082 or get a free online consultation to find out if our law firm can be of help to you.

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