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Can I Sue for Hypoglycemia Birth Injury Complications?

Birth injury

Hypoglycemia occurs when a person’s blood glucose levels fall below normal. If the glucose levels become dangerously low, it can cause various health complications, including reduced brain function. Several factors can increase the risk of hypoglycemia in a newborn baby, many of which are preventable with proper prenatal care. However, if the condition is not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, a baby can suffer a range of health complications, from lethargy and poor feeding to brain damage that can result in permanent impairments. If your baby suffered a hypoglycemic birth injury and you believe negligence was a factor, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced lawyer who will assist you with a medical malpractice claim and recover the damages to which you are entitled.

What Is Hypoglycemia in a Newborn?

Glucose is the main source of fuel for the brain and the body. During pregnancy, the placenta passes glucose from the mother to the baby. Some glucose is stored in the placenta and later goes to the baby’s liver, heart, and muscles. Glucose is essential in supplying the baby’s brain with energy during the delivery process and nutrition after the baby is born. If the glucose levels are too low, this can cause the baby to develop hypoglycemia, which can harm the brain’s ability to function and can result in seizures and serious brain injury.

What Are the Different Types of Hypoglycemia?

Three types of hypoglycemia can affect newborns, including the following:

  • Transitional hypoglycemia: This affects all healthy newborns in the first few days after birth.
  • Perinatal stress-induced hypoglycemia: This affects roughly 1 in 1,200 high-risk newborns.
  • Genetic congenital hyperinsulinism (CHI): This genetic condition affects only about 1 in 10,000 to 40,000 newborns. In nearly half of those patients, the cause of CHI is unclear.

What Causes Hypoglycemia in Newborns?

There are a range of factors that can increase the risk of hypoglycemia in newborns. Unfortunately, many cases of hypoglycemia in newborns are the result of medical negligence, including failing to monitor the mother’s blood work or failing to respond to the baby’s low blood sugar after birth. The following are examples of the most common causes of hypoglycemia in newborns:

  • Insufficient glycogen storage: Babies are more susceptible to hypoglycemia-related brain damage if they do not have enough stored glycogen at birth.
  • Prematurity: Babies that are born prematurely are at an increased risk of hypoglycemia since they often have lower glycogen stores and may not be able to regulate blood sugar levels, diminished insulin reaction to glucose, and limited fat reserves.
  • Low birth weight: In some cases, babies born with a low birth weight are at a higher risk of developing hypoglycemia because they often have fewer glycogen reserves.
  • Inadequate feeding: This is one of the most common causes of hypoglycemia in newborns, particularly during the first few days after delivery. Doctors must monitor the baby closely to ensure it gets enough breast milk or formula to keep their blood sugar healthy.
  • Maternal diabetes: If the mother has any type of diabetes, the baby is at an increased risk for hypoglycemia since they are exposed to higher glucose levels during pregnancy. The baby’s insulin production may exceed its glucose needs after delivery.
  • Stress or illness: If the mother or baby develops an infection, is deprived of oxygen during childbirth, or suffers from respiratory distress, stress hormones can be released, which can interfere with glucose regulation and increase the risk of a hypoglycemic brain injury. This is often associated with medical malpractice.
  • Medications: Certain medications, including magnesium sulfate, administered to the mother during labor can affect the baby’s blood sugar levels.

What Are the Symptoms of Hypoglycemia in Newborns?

In some cases, infants with hypoglycemia may not exhibit any apparent symptoms. In addition, some of the common symptoms of hypoglycemia are similar to other conditions or medical problems. If you notice any of the following symptoms, it is important that you share your concerns with your physician as soon as possible so that they can determine whether your baby has low blood sugar:

  • Lethargy
  • Pale or bluish skin
  • Vomiting and loss of appetite
  • Breathing problems
  • Irritability
  • Tremors and seizures
  • Hypotonia, which is a condition that causes decreased muscle tone

Can I File a Medical Malpractice Claim if My Baby Has Hypoglycemia?

If your newborn developed hypoglycemia due to medical negligence, you may be eligible for financial compensation by filing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the physician responsible for your care. Hypoglycemia is simple to diagnose, and treatment generally involves increased feedings, an IV solution containing glucose if the condition is more severe, or medication if these treatment options do not sufficiently increase the glucose levels. However, if the medical provider does not monitor the baby’s condition, fails to diagnose hypoglycemia after the baby shows symptoms of the condition, or does not order the necessary blood tests to determine whether the glucose levels are too low, you may have a medical malpractice case. 

Keep in mind, however, that you will need to prove that the medical professional was negligent. To prove negligence, you will need to show that the healthcare professional failed to provide the standard of care that another healthcare professional would have provided in similar circumstances, that the negligence caused harm to your baby, and that the harm resulted in financial damages.

Our Washington, D.C. Hypoglycemia Birth Injury Lawyers at the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates Represent Clients With Hypoglycemia Claims

If your newborn suffered a hypoglycemic birth injury as a result of medical negligence, it is recommended that you contact our Washington, D.C. hypoglycemia birth injury lawyers at the Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates. We will review the details of your case. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 202-223-4488 or contact us online. Our office is located in Washington, D.C., where we serve clients in the surrounding areas, including Northern Virginia and Maryland.

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