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Hypoglycaemia and Brain-Damage in Babies- Paul Sankey discusses

The recent case of Lucas Hiller who is due to recover substantial compensation after hospital staff failed to diagnose and treat his hypoglycaemia highlights a significant cause of serious damage in new-born babies.
Hypoglycaemia is a lack of glucose (from sugar) in the blood. The rate at which sugar is absorbed is controlled by insulin. All cells in the body need glucose to function properly and where glucose levels are low they may suffer serious damage. Babies derive their glucose from milk. Their levels of glucose tend to dip after birth for a few hours but then usually recover quickly once they start to feed.
Some babies are at greater risk of hypoglycaemia than other. If they are small or premature, get cold, have infections or breathing difficulties at birth or are born to mothers with diabetes may be at higher risk. Hypoglycaemia can usually be reversed quickly but it is important to spot the signs. Those signs include being sleepy, floppy, irritable or jittery.
Failing to diagnose hypoglycaemia can be extremely dangerous, leading to brain damage and cerebral palsy. In some cases this can lead to a lifetime of disability. In one of our current cases a baby tragically suffered serious harm when the correct blood results were entered on the baby’s chart but in the wrong boxes. The baby’s hypoglycaemia was left undiagnosed for over 24 hours. In another cases no blood tests were done despite the baby’s clear symptoms.
Hypoglycaemia in babies is therefore a dangerous condition. Hospital staff should be alert to it. In those rare but tragic cases where they make avoidable mistakes which cause serious disability it is only right that the hospital Trust responsible pays proper compensation.