Neonatal Hypoglycaemia Negligence - Solicitors Compensation Claim

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Neonatal hypoglycaemia is the most common metabolic issue in newborns. Symptomatic hypoglycaemia occurs in about 1.3 to 3 percent of newborn births. It is defined as a blood sugar of less than 30 mg/dL in a newborn in the first day of life and a blood sugar of less than 45 mg/dL after day one of life. It is most common in very large infants, in infants who have suffered neonatal distress, in infants who have infection or in infants of diabetic mothers. The baby may have no symptoms of the condition or can have severe cardio-respiratory problems or CNS (central nervous system) problems. The baby most often presents with irritability, an altered level of consciousness, seizures, lethargy and vomiting. Any child that appears acutely ill should be evaluated for neonatal hypoglycaemia.

Medical Negligence Solicitors

Our solicitors deal with personal injury compensation claims arising from medical negligence by a healthcare practitioner. Our solicitors deal with neonatal hypoglycaemia claims using the no win no fee scheme. To speak to a medical negligence solicitor about neonatal hypoglycaemia, just email our lawyers offices or complete the contact form or call our solicitors helpline. Our solicitors offer advice at no cost and with no further obligation.

Neonatal Hypoglycaemia

If a baby has sustained or repetitive hypoglycaemia, it can strongly impact brain development and brain function. Ischemia (lack of blood supply) and hypoxia (lack of oxygen) make the hypoglycaemia worse; they add to the potential for brain damage. Glucose levels drop after birth with a low at about 1-3 hours after birth. The levels of liver glycogen are quickly depleted after birth so that gluconeogenesis kicks in, accounting for ten percent of glucose turnover in the newborn infant. If this is insufficient, hypoglycaemia and brain injury can occur.

In neonatal hypoglycaemia, there are changes in hormone secretion that favour low blood sugar. There is little in the way of glycogen stores and muscle stores are inadequate to provide amino acids for gluconeogenesis. The baby often has little fat on it so fatty acids can’t be released.

The history of an infant suffering from neonatal hypoglycaemia is one that can include newborns weighing more than 4 kg or less than 2 kg. Large for gestational age babies and small for gestational age babies (including those with intrauterine growth restriction) are at higher risk. One in a thousand pregnant women is diabetic and 2 percent of women have diabetes of pregnancy. Their infants have a higher risk of developing neonatal hypoglycaemia. Preemies can develop neonatal hypoglycaemia as can infants who are suspected of having sepsis or have been born to a mother with a uterine infection.

Symptoms of neonatal hypoglycaemia include poor feeding, low Apgar scores, tachypnea (fast breathing), jitteriness, instability of temperature, lethargy and seizures. If the baby has had perinatal distress, has had a mother on terbutaline, beta-blockers or hypoglycaemic medications, or has a large liver, the staff should check for neonatal hypoglycaemia. Things like microcephaly, enlarged tongue or gigantism, then neonatal hypoglycaemia should be suspected.

Infants suspected of having neonatal hypoglycaemia should have hourly blood glucose measurements until the blood glucose normalizes. If the blood sugar is markedly low, dextrose should be given orally or by IV to bring up the blood sugar to more normal levels. Serious cases need to be treated with anti-convulsant therapy to control seizures. Acidosis with a pH less than 7.1 needs therapy with sodium bicarbonate. The goal of therapy is to bring the blood sugar to above 45 mg/dL on a consistent basis. Eventually the infant will be able to drink sugar water on his or her own and can be bottle fed dextrose until the crisis has passed. Regular infant formula can be started when the baby is stable.

Hypoglycaemia needs prompt treatment in order to prevent brain or other neurological damage. Early feeding of suspected infants should be encouraged so that the blood sugar can continue to rise. A nasogastric tube can be used if the infant’s suck reflex is poor or if the infant is otherwise unable to eat due to lethargy. Cortisol is not recommended because it doesn’t work fast enough and has minimal benefit to the infant. Its use may, in fact, mask the true cause of the hypoglycemia.

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