Neonatal hypoglycaemia claims

Boyes Turner’s cerebral palsy and brain injury solicitors are experienced in obtaining compensation for children and teenagers with severe neurodevelopmental injury from avoidable neonatal hypoglycaemia.

Where liability for the brain injury is established, we work with experts to ensure that the full extent and impact of the injury is properly assessed, so that our clients are properly compensated.

Our SEN specialists can also help families with children affected by neonatal brain injury secure appropriate educational support for their child within the school that is right for them.

What is neonatal hypoglycaemia?

Neonatal hypoglycaemia refers to a common but potentially dangerous metabolic condition suffered by newborn babies who are unable to maintain healthy blood glucose levels in the first few days of life before regular feeding is established. Left untreated, neonatal hypoglycaemia can cause permanent brain damage and disability.

Who is at risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia?

All babies have some risk of hypoglycaemia immediately after birth until they have established a healthy feeding pattern.

Those at increased risk include:

  • newborn babies whose birthweight is below 2.5kg. It is standard practise to monitor the blood sugar level of any baby born with a birthweight below the 2.5kg threshold;
  • babies whose mothers have diabetes;
  • babies with intra-uterine growth restriction (IUGR) and small for their gestational age;
  • poor feeding is a risk factor, even where none of the other risk factors apply.

How can neonatal hypoglycaemia be prevented?

Prevention of neonatal hypoglycaemia is a key aspect of the midwife’s job. Midwives are required to look out for neonatal hypoglycaemia and take steps to prevent it. They do this by ensuring that newborn babies are receiving enough milk and by carrying out heel-prick blood testing of babies who are at increased risk to check that they are maintaining safe blood sugar levels.

How is neonatal hypoglycaemia treated?

Neonatal low blood sugar levels (hypoglycaemia) should be corrected quickly by feeding the baby and in some cases by administering glucose intravenously.

Neonatal hypoglycaemia is a medical emergency

If a newborn baby is suffering from hypoglycaemia action must be taken quickly to restore and maintain healthy blood sugar levels to prevent damage being caused to the baby’s brain. Delays in treating a hypoglycaemic baby may lead to the child suffering from severe neurological disability.

My baby has brain damage from hypoglycaemia – do I have a claim?

In a recent review of successful neonatal hypoglycaemia claims against the NHS, the most common errors in clinical care included: 

  • delays in obtaining blood glucose test results;
  • delays in acting on a low blood glucose result;
  • delayed referral of babies with hypoglycaemia to a paediatrician or delayed paediatric review;
  • delayed admission of babies diagnosed with significant hypoglycaemia to neonatal unit (NNU);
  • delayed administration or not enough intravenous glucose being given to the baby on the NNU;
  • failure to advise the mother properly when the baby is discharged home.

Why wasn’t I told about my child’s neonatal hypoglycaemia?

Unlike cerebral palsy caused by oxygen deprivation, the child’s neurodevelopmental disability from neonatal hypoglycaemia might not be immediately obvious to the parents. Neurodevelopmental disability from avoidable neonatal hypoglycaemia often only becomes evident in later childhood or teenage years when the child struggles to cope at school.

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