In one of our current cases, our lawyers are representing a child who suffered lifelong disability due to medical malpractice as a newborn. Tragically, his doctor’s failure to monitor and treat his blood sugar levels after birth led to a severe brain injury and permanent complications.
If this sounds like something that may have happened to your child in New Jersey, contact us at (866)-708-8617 or fill out our online form to arrange an absolutely free case review. Continue reading for more information about injuries caused by negligent newborn care.
Checking a Baby’s Health after Birth
After a baby is born, doctors should run a variety of tests to check for any abnormalities that may pose a threat to the infant’s health. One of these tests is called an Apgar test, named after Virginia Apgar, who introduced it in 1952. The Apgar test is performed two times: once at 1 minute after delivery and then again at 5 minutes after birth. The purpose of the first test is to determine how well the newborn fared during labor and delivery. The second score indicates how the baby is functioning outside of the womb. A baby’s Apgar score indicates a combination of breathing effort, heart rate, muscle tone, reflexes, and skin color.
Premature babies are at increased risk for birth injuries and a myriad of health conditions, which is why doctors must run additional tests to identify medical issues after a baby is born preterm. For instance, premature babies should have a blood sugar test to determine blood glucose. These newborns are at risk for low blood glucose in the first 36 hours of life. Similarly, babies who are small for their gestational age should also have blood sugar checks soon after birth. The victim we are currently representing was not provided with adequate medical care after birth, as the doctor and hospital failed to diagnose or treat his dangerous low blood sugar levels, a condition known as hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia in Infants
Hypoglycemia is the leading metabolic problem affecting newborns. After birth, hypoglycemia must be immediately recognized and treated in order to prevent serious complications. The victim in this case was born at 37 weeks and weighed 5 pounds, 5.5 ounces, which was small for his gestational age. Instead of following the standard protocol, the doctor and medical staff at the hospital failed to check his blood sugar. The same day, the newborn was brought back to the hospital due to decreased responsiveness. When his blood sugar was finally checked, the level was 1. Consider: normal blood glucose levels range from 70 to 100.
In this case, the doctor should have run a blood sugar test because the baby was abnormally small for his gestational age. In other cases, a baby will exhibit symptoms of hypoglycemia, which medical professionals must recognize. Some of the common signs of low blood sugar in infants include:
- Altered level of consciousness
- Floppy limbs
Cyanosis: also known as “blue baby syndrome,” when the baby turns blue
What Happens When a Newborn has Untreated Hypoglycemia?
Hypoglycemia in newborns and infants can lead to severe brain damage. In fact, it can cause a chain reaction wherein low blood sugar results in low oxygen levels in the blood, resulting in oxygen deprivation in the brain. When the brain experiences lack of oxygen, even for a short period of time, the resulting brain damage can permanently impair neurological function and prevent normal brain development.
After suffering dangerously low blood sugar, the baby in this case went into hypoglycemic shock. Failure to diagnose and treat his hypoglycemia resulted in a serious neurologic injury, seizure disorder, developmental delay, and lifelong disability. In other words, medical negligence in the care of this innocent newborn led to permanent and catastrophic harm.
Did Your Child Suffer Injuries from Newborn Medical Malpractice?
Contact our lawyers to discuss your child’s case. We represent newborn medical malpractice victims in New Jersey and New York and we are here to answer your questions. If you suspect negligence with your baby led to brain damage or neurological injuries, our lawyers will explain the legal options you may have. We are happy to help you determine the best course of action. If you have grounds for a claim, we will fight for the compensation your child needs to live their best life. For a free consultation, call (866)-708-8617 or contact us online today.