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Written by Susan Brown

Boyes Turner’s neonatal brain injury claims specialists secured a settlement for a client whose brain was injured when midwives failed to recognise and treat signs of hypoglycaemia in the first few days of his life. As a result of his brain injury, he needs assistance with most aspects of daily living. He has epilepsy, intellectual impairment, delayed development, speech and language skills, and motor co-ordination. He has behavioural problems and special educational needs.

IUGR (intra-uterine growth restriction) and low birthweight increased the risk of neonatal hypoglycaemia

Towards the end of her pregnancy our client’s mother had symptoms of pre-eclampsia. She was admitted to hospital. An ultrasound scan showed that the baby had IUGR. The scan also revealed an almost complete lack of amniotic fluid, but the baby had not yet been injured. The baby was delivered in good condition, but ‘small for dates’ and his birthweight was very low.

The hospital’s hypoglycaemia protocol identified that ‘small for dates’ babies were at increased risk and gave guidelines for correct blood glucose testing. However, the midwives failed to test the baby’s blood sugar in accordance with the guidelines. They discharged the baby from hospital on the second day of life, even though his mother had expressed her concerns that he was sleeping too much, lethargic and not feeding well.

The baby’s condition worsened at home. He slept too much, wouldn’t feed and his lips turned blue. His mother thought he was cold and wrapped him up, but when he started grunting she called the hospital midwife and was told to bring him into hospital immediately. He stopped breathing for a shirt while on the way  to the hospital. On arrival he was admitted to the neonatal unit where he was found to be unresponsive, having fits and profoundly hypoglycaemic. His condition stabilised after treatment to raise his blood glucose via an intravenous infusion and anti-epileptic medication.

Making a neonatal hypoglycaemia brain injury compensation claim

We pursued our client’s claim for compensation against the defendant hospital on the basis that his brain injury was caused by their staff’s failure to monitor and properly maintain his blood sugar levels in the first few days of his life. They denied responsibility for our client’s injuries and defended the claim strongly until just before the liability (fault) trial, when they finally admitted liability.

We obtained judgment and a £1 million interim payment to pay for a behaviour management programme and the purchase and adaptation of a more suitable home, so that the boy’s specialist needs could be met but he could still live at home with his family. We helped the family appoint a Court of Protection deputy and a case manager to help manage his care and therapy and special educational needs support at school. An out-of-court settlement, providing our client with a £3.1million lump sum and lifelong annual payments rising to £133,250pa, was finally agreed at a round table meeting with the defendant.

If you are caring for a child or teenager with a brain injury caused by medical negligence, you can find out more about making a claim by speaking to one of our clinical negligence solicitors, free and confidentially. Contact us by email at