Neonatal hypoglycemia is diagnosed when a newborn's blood glucose level (blood sugar) is abnormally low during the first few days of his or her life. Because glucose is such an important nutrient for the brain, low levels (less than 40 mg/dl in the first 24 hours and between 40 to 50 mg/dl thereafter) are considered serious.
Babies at risk of developing neonatal hypoglycemia include preterm infants, abnormally small or large babies, infants born to diabetic mothers, those that have difficulty breast-feeding and babies who suffer perinatal asphyxia.
Symptoms include, but may not be limited to, jitteriness, irritability, tremors
, apnea, lethargy, coma
, convulsions and blue color.
If a physician or nurse fails to test and treat a newborn for neonatal hypoglycemia when symptoms are present and the infant dies or is injured as a result, a medical malpractice claim may be made. Attorneys usually focus on a physician's negligence when filing a lawsuit.
- Children's Health Matters: Overview