Being born with low blood sugar can have a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of a baby. This condition can result in permanent impairments or even death. For this reason, it is crucial that medical professionals are able to recognize the signs and symptoms of neonatal hypoglycemia. Babies born with this condition need immediate medical attention. If they do not receive adequate and timely care, they can suffer overwhelming consequences.
When a newborn does not receive adequate and appropriate treatment for neonatal hypoglycemia can have catastrophic consequences, particularly on the newborn child. Although this condition is completely treatable, it requires doctors to recognize the signs and symptoms so they can begin timely treatment. When medical professionals do not address these problems adequately, it can be devastating.
Our medical malpractice attorneys at The Malpractice Group have seen cases where children are born with extremely low glucose levels. The risks of severe hypoglycemia can have a detrimental impact on the growth and development of your child. When your baby suffers negative consequences due to the careless, reckless, or negligent actions of a medical provider, you deserve justice and to be compensated for the injuries that were inflicted on your child. Contact our medical malpractice attorneys at The Malpractice Group as soon as possible to see how we can help you.
What is Neonatal Hypoglycemia?
Neonatal hypoglycemia is a term used to describe newborns who suffer from extremely low blood sugar. In some instances, babies are born with excessively low blood sugar levels as a result of the mother’s poor nutrition. When mothers experience hypoglycemia during pregnancy, there is an increased risk that their unborn child will be delivered experiencing similar problems.
This condition can cause severe complications for the brain and heart of the baby, which can be life-threatening. It is crucial that medical staff accurately and thoroughly monitors newborns for signs of neonatal hypoglycemia and other health conditions. A failure to adequately monitor a newborn can result in delayed treatment and the development of preventable injuries or even death.
Can Neonatal Hypoglycemia be Prevented?
There are various ways in which medical professionals can prevent neonatal hypoglycemia. First, it is imperative for mothers suffering from this condition to receive adequate medical attention throughout their pregnancy. When pregnant women have diabetes, they should work closely with their health care providers to regulate and control their blood sugar levels. Having levels out of control can have a detrimental impact on the health and wellbeing of the unborn child.
When children are diagnosed with neonatal hypoglycemia, they should be monitored immediately and provided treatment. The monitoring of the child should continue to ensure the condition does not worsen or reoccur.
Signs and Symptoms of Neonatal Hypoglycemia
Babies who are born with neonatal hypoglycemia often exhibit various signs and symptoms. Some of the most notable signs babies can exhibit immediately following birth include:
- Having bluish-colored skin
- Having pale skin tone
- Having rapid breathing or pauses in breathing
- Having difficulties regulating body temperature
- Making grunting sounds while breathing
- Showing irritability or listlessness
- Having loose or floppy muscles
- Having a weak or a high pitched cry
- Experiencing vomiting or poor feeding
- Excessive sweating, shaking, or tremors
- Having seizures
The symptoms babies experience from neonatal hypoglycemia can lead to further health complications if they are not addressed. It is crucial that doctors are proactive in noticing the symptoms and beginning treatment. Although there are some cases where babies are born with asymptomatic neonatal hypoglycemia, these problems can still be detected through routine blood tests that are performed immediately following birth. When doctors fail to adequately monitor the condition, and it results in the development of a disabling condition, they can be held liable. Call The Malpractice Group today to discuss your medical situation with a skilled personal injury lawyer with decades of combined experience.
Causes of Neonatal Hypoglycemia
There are various factors that can cause neonatal hypoglycemia. One of the most common causes of this condition is when babies have too much insulin in their blood. Insulin is a hormone that effectively decreases the amount of blood glucose. When babies have too much insulin or hyperinsulinemic hypoglycemia of infancy (PHHI) it can have a detrimental impact on the baby’s ability to regulate its blood sugar levels. In other cases, hypoxic-ischemic encephalopathy (HIE) can impact the ability of the body to maintain adequate insulin levels.
Another leading cause of neonatal hypoglycemia is having limited storage of glycogen. Prior to glucose breaking down into its simple form, it is stored in the body as a form of glycogen. Not having adequate storage capability can cause hypoglycemia. Having a limited storage ability can be caused by intrauterine growth restrictions and can result in the baby being born prematurely.
The increased use of glucose can also cause blood sugar levels to run abnormally low. When there is an increased use in glucose, it typically indicates that an underlying medical condition is present. The most common causes of increased glucose use include:
- Hyperthermia: When the body temperature is elevated due to head trauma, medication, or infection
- Polycythemia: When there is an abnormally high red blood cell mass caused by oxygen deprivation
- Sepsis: When a bacterial infection is present in the bloodstream
- Growth hormone deficiency: A child can be born with this growth hormone deficiency which is called a congenital defect or it can be acquired later on in life which is called an acquired defect.
Three other conditions that can cause blood glucose deficiencies include:
- Decreased Glycogenolysis: When there is a decrease in the breakdown in the process of turning glycogen into glucose.
- Decreased Gluconeogenesis: When there is a decrease in the creation of glucose that is caused by a metabolic pathway deficiency.
- Depleted glycogen stores: Babies who suffer from asphyxia-perinatal stress or starvation in the womb can experience low glucose levels.
Long-Term Effects of Neonatal Hypoglycemia
When babies are born with neonatal hypoglycemia, it is critical that they receive adequate and timely medical attention for their condition. When doctors fail to begin treatment, it can have lasting consequences. When neonatal hypoglycemia goes untreated or undiagnosed for too long, some of the long-term injuries babies can sustain include:
- Brain damage
- Cerebral palsy
- Vision problems
- Epilepsy/seizure disorders
- Developmental disabilities and delays
- Learning disabilities
- Neuropsychiatry disorders
Not only are there overwhelming mental, physical, and emotional consequences of an undiagnosed and untreated neonatal hypoglycemia condition, but it can be extremely costly to treat. If your child suffered any injuries or damages as a result of a negligent medical professional, it is crucial that you contact a birth injury attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. The personal injury lawyers at The Malpractice Group have decades of medical malpractice experience and can assure you that you will get the best possible settlement for your lawsuit. Call us today to see how we can help you protect the rights of your child and your family.
How is Neonatal Hypoglycemia Treated
Although babies are routinely born with neonatal hypoglycemia, it is important to note that there are some options available to address the condition. Babies who are born with neonatal hypoglycemia can go through various types of medical treatment. The type of treatment is dependent upon the condition and the negative consequences that babies endure. Some of the factors doctors and other medical professionals take into consideration when determining the appropriate treatment methods include:
- The child’s ability to tolerate medications or treatments
- The child’s gestational age
- The overall health and medical history of the child
- The extent and severity of the condition
- The expectations throughout the course of the disease
- Input regarding the parents’ preferences
After considering these factors, doctors generally begin by providing a rapid-acting form of glucose to the child. In some cases, this solution involves something as simple as providing the child with a mixture of water and glucose or provided formula through a nasogastric lavage or by mouth. In other cases, babies may need an intravenous administration of glucose. After the baby is given glucose, they then require monitoring to ensure the hypoglycemia does not reoccur. These treatments can last up to a week for babies, but some children may respond positively in only a few hours.
If the child’s blood glucose levels remain low, it may indicate that another health problem exists. In some cases, children may need medication to increase levels or reduce their insulin production. Occasionally there are children born with severe forms of neonatal hypoglycemia who fail to improve even after they are administered glucose. When babies fail to respond appropriately to treatment, they may require surgery to move part of their pancreas to reduce the production of insulin.
Malpractice and Neonatal Hypoglycemia
The normal blood glucose range for a “normal” person is between 60 and 100 mg/dl. For newborns in their first 40-minutes of life, the level is around 40 mg/dl. Any blood glucose levels lower than this could indicate a serious problem is present. Low-level blood glucose can cause the body’s cells to be deprived of a vital source of energy they need to function appropriately. In order to prevent complications from occurring, it is imperative that medical professionals monitor the mother and the baby.
Doctors and other medical professionals should pay particular attention to the mother and whether she complains of having any symptoms of hypoglycemia. It is equally important that doctors monitor blood work, especially when they indicate low blood sugar levels. Dealing with neonatal hypoglycemia is a bit more challenging than dealing with the condition in adults. Small children do not have the ability to complain about their condition, which makes it more important for doctors to be able to recognize the signs that the hypoglycemia is coming.
There are several risk factors doctors need to be able to recognize in order to accurately diagnose and treat this condition. They will need to recognize growth retardation during the pregnancy as well as low birth weight. Some medical conditions that commonly cause low blood glucose levels in infants include:
- Being born preterm
- Having certain rare genetic disorders
- Being born with low thyroid hormone levels
- Having a history of asphyxia (HIE)
- Intrauterine growth restrictions
- Mothers with chorioamnionitis or another type of infection right before giving birth
- Experiencing stress in the womb
- Being born to a diabetic mother
- Being born unusually small or large
It is imperative that these risk factors are analyzed throughout the labor and delivery process as well as after birth. Fetal compromise combined with the need for post-delivery resuscitation are also key factors that hypoglycemia may be present. When these signs are noted, babies will need to have their glucose levels monitored.
Doctors who fail to adequately monitor the signs and symptoms of mothers and children can be held legally liable for any resulting injuries or worsening conditions.
The Malpractice Group Can Help You
Studies show that approximately two babies out of every 1,000 are born with neonatal hypoglycemia. Given the fact that glucose is a vital source of immediate energy found in food, it is crucial that growing babies are able to store and utilize glycogen. Not being able to adequately process insulin and regular blood sugar levels can have a devastating impact on a child’s ability to thrive.
Unfortunately, there are many instances where neonatal hypoglycemia is made worse by medical negligence. If untreated, this condition can cause serious health complications that continue to impact the child for the rest of their life. Unfortunately, many children suffer the life-changing effects of medical negligence and are forced to endure stacking mental, physical, and financial consequences.
If your child was born with neonatal hypoglycemia, and experienced complications due to the negligence of a medical professional, it is crucial that you reach out to a medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to protect your legal rights. You may be entitled to compensation to help alleviate the costs of long-term medical expenses and various other damages you may face.
Our team at The Malpractice Group of WVFO has extensive experience helping victims get the justice they deserve after being harmed as a result of medical malpractice. We strive to help parents and children impacted by medical malpractice get the justice they deserve and obtain the financial resources they need to move forward and recover. If your baby suffered devastating consequences from a birth injury, due to the negligence of a medical professional, contact our medical malpractice team at (312) 561-4324 at your earliest convenience. Schedule a free case evaluation to see what legal options are available for you.
The medical negligence lawyers at The Malpractice Group of will pursue full and fair compensation for families affected by negligent medical professionals. Our negligence attorneys understand the challenges that injured patients face. Contact The Malpractice Group today at to schedule a free case evaluation at your earliest convenience to see how we can help you get the justice you deserve.