Facial Paralysis Birth Injury
Damage to Facial Nerves
What Causes Facial Paralysis?
The seventh cranial nerve, which controls the muscles of facial expression, is often called “the facial nerve.” It is vulnerable and can suffer damage during a complicated birth. If the mother is struggling to push the baby out, the obstetrician may decide to use forceps. If these tong-like devices are used incorrectly, it could put pressure on the infant's face and damage nerves. This is most common in births involving large babies, long pregnancies, births involving epidural anesthesia, and births where medication was used to induce labor and stronger contractions.
Usually, only the lower part of the facial nerve is damaged during a difficult birth. This part of the nerve is responsible for the muscles around the lips. This health problem is noticeable and diagnosable when the infant cries.
A newborn affected by facial paralysis may have one eyelid that does not close; an uneven face while crying; a mouth that does not move the same on both sides; or complete paralysis on the affected side, from the forehead to the chin.
Correct Diagnosis Is Crucial
If any of these symptoms are seen, a physical exam should be done right away. Brain imaging tests and nerve conduction studies are often not required. A physical exam by a skilled medical professional is often all that is required to determine that the facial nerve was damaged.
Fortunately, this condition often improves with time. Many young victims of facial paralysis are able to recover within a matter of months. Facial paralysis can even go away on its own. Other infants, however, suffer from permanent paralysis and require special therapy.
Your doctor should be able to diagnose this condition while you are still at the hospital. Mild cases involving only the lower lip may take longer to notice. Look for uneven facial movements when your child cries and seek out medical attention right away if you notice anything that does not seem normal.
Contact an Experienced Texas Birth Injury Lawyer
As is true with all birth injuries, some facial paralysis cases are the direct result of medical errors. When a medical professional acts negligently and causes harm to a child during labor or delivery, he or she can be held accountable for the victim's suffering.
If your child has facial paralysis due to negligence, you may be able to pursue financial support for the resulting medical bills, rehabilitation costs, and pain and suffering. Call our birth injury attorneys at (214) 974-4121 to schedule your free consultation and case evaluation.