My child has developed a brain injury due to hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar levels) – What do I need to know?

Unfortunately, on rare occasions, the signs of hypoglycaemia in newborns are not identified quickly enough or acted upon with treatment. Without enough glucose (a type of sugar) in the blood, the brain is deprived of energy which can cause seizures, permanent brain damage, and in rare cases, death, if not treated appropriately.

How is hypoglycaemia treated in newborn babies?

Early recognition and management of hypoglycaemia in newborns is an essential responsibility for midwives. A key aspect of their role is to ensure newborn babies are feeding well and to conduct heel-prick blood testing on babies who are at increased risk to check they are maintaining safe blood sugar levels.

Low blood sugar in newborns is usually easily treated, by establishing adequate and regular feeding and keeping your baby warm. Regular blood tests and monitoring should be carried out if there are any concerns around feeding and if required, glucose oral gel can be given to bring up the blood glucose level. If you are breast feeding, a top up of formula may also be advised.

If the blood glucose level is very low, your baby is too sleepy or too unwell to feed, or if the blood glucose continues to be low despite feeding, your baby may require intravenous (IV) glucose treatment to raise the blood sugar level.

Is a brain injury caused by hypoglycaemia avoidable?

With early recognition and management of hypoglycaemia, your baby should make a full recovery without sustaining an injury.

On rare occasions, medical negligence can contribute to a brain injury caused by neonatal hypoglycaemia. Some examples of this are:

  1. Failure to identify and monitor at-risk babies
  2. Failure to conduct blood sugar checks
  3. Failure to provide appropriate treatment
  4. Failure to educate parents about the signs and symptoms of neonatal hypoglycaemia, especially if their baby is at risk
  5. Failure to ensure babies are feeding correctly and educate parents about feeding

The extent of the brain damage will depend on how low the blood glucose dropped and how long for.

How can I make a claim if my child has developed a brain injury due to hypoglycaemia?

If a child has suffered a brain injury as a result of a delay in recognising and treating low blood sugar, it may be possible to recover compensation to help implement the additional care, therapy, treatment and equipment required to ensure their needs are fully supported for the rest of their life.

At Ison Harrison, we have a great deal of experience working with families to help them understand why an injury occurred and pursuing financial compensation. We understand the impact this type of injury has on the child and how life will change for the whole family. Thinking about the support your child will require and how you will cope as a family can be frightening and stressful. Our team of specialist solicitors are here to listen to your concerns, answer your questions and guide you through the legal process.

For more information and free advice, please visit our website, call us on 0113 284 5745 or email us at .

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