Having a babe is an experience filled with intense emotion and wonder. This makes it that much more devastating when we are told our children may have a medical complication, such as hypoglycemia.
Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar, has many physical impacts on the body. It is crucial for physicians to closely monitor cases where children exhibit hypoglycemia signs as there could be medical repercussions for long term instances.
As a leading medical malpractice lawyer in Toronto, Sommers, Roth, and Elmaleh are here to help support parents in cases where a doctor has not done their duty and closely monitored situations of low sugar in babies. Here, we will talk a little bit about hypoglycemia and how it impacts young children so that you may be better informed and prepared if the case should occur.
What Happens Physically During Cases of Hypoglycemia
When the human body experiences low blood sugar, all of the cells in your body react. Even the brain requires glucose (sugar) to thrive. Therefore, when these glucose levels are reduced, especially in cases involving babies who have difficulty regulating inner body systems, it can result in the cells of the brain retaining damage. In extreme cases, hypoglycemia can cause permanent brain damage to babies and young children.
Hypoglycemia occurs when sugars are low, meaning you have not eaten. In the case of a new baby, it means the glucose reserves they are born with were too low to continue supporting brain development. If caught in time, a physician can help your child receive the glucose they need to thrive and avoid brain damage.
When is Hypoglycemia a Risk?
Hypoglycemia can happen at various stages throughout pregnancy. Usually, before the baby is born, hypoglycemic symptoms are evident in the mother, rather than the baby, as the baby is receiving all its glucose directly from the mother. Once a baby is born, its body is required to produce glucose by itself. These early stages of separation from the womb are the most important for a physician to monitor.
When a baby is born, it has something called glycogen reserves. This is a selection of glucose that has been preserved from time spent inside the mother’s womb. Eventually, these reserves deplete, and the baby will need to obtain more glucose through nursing, either through breastmilk or formula.
It is important to note that some babies are born with less in their glycogen reserves than others. This puts that child at a higher risk of hypoglycemia.
Glucose and the Brain
As you read this, you might be wondering about how sugar affects your adult brain. It likely takes you a very long time to begin seeing any symptoms of hypoglycemia or low blood sugar. However, it’s essential to consider the size of a baby’s brain compared to the rest of the body.
Babies are very tiny, and the brain is approximately one-third of the size of that body. This means much more glucose is required early on to support brain function in a baby than in comparison to an adult brain.
What causes the risk of Hypoglycemia to increase in a baby?
As mentioned above, the size of a baby plays an essential role in how much glucose is reserved in its body for later use. Babies born premature or small for their age may have fewer reserves than larger babies or babies born at term. There are also factors relating to the baby’s delivery and the mother’s health that can impact glucose. These factors include:
When a mother has diabetes, their babies often have similar issues regulating sugar. This may be due to the mother’s inability to pass on adequate glucose supplies in the womb.
During delivery, there are sometimes cases where a baby loses oxygen. This lack of oxygen during delivery is known as hypoxic-ischemic episodes. Babies who experience HIE during birth may have inadequate glucose reserves.
If you are concerned that your health conditions may impact your child’s glucose reserves at birth, you should share this information with your physician. It is also essential that doctors closely monitor patients who have a high risk of delivering a hypoglycemic baby. When a doctor fails to care correctly for mothers and babies in these instances, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible.
Determining Brain Injury by Hypoglycemia
As a parent, there is nothing more terrifying than being told there is something wrong with your child. If low blood sugar has caused some form of brain damage to your baby, your doctor should be able to test for it using an MRI or CT scan. These scans should show where the brain was damaged and help decipher the cause.
Suppose scans point to a possible connection between glucose and the brain. In that case, your medical malpractice lawyer will want to see clinical records to determine whether your doctor acted per the hypoglycemia standards outlined by the Canadian Pediatric Society. If not, you may have a case of medical malpractice and be entitled to some financial retribution.
Although money can never undo the harm that has occurred to your child, it can help support your baby in receiving the healthcare they need to lead a full and happy life.
Contact a Medical Malpractice Lawyer in Cases of Hypoglycemia
If you are concerned that your child has suffered chronic medical concerns due to hypoglycemia and medical negligence, we recommend you reach out to a medical malpractice lawyer. Cases of medical malpractice have a statute of limitations in Toronto of 2-years, and it is always more comfortable for your lawyer to investigate such an issue when the facts and data are still fresh in the minds of those involved.
To learn more about how hyperglycemia can affect your baby, call Sommers, Roth and Elmaleh at 1-416-961-1212 or contact us here.
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