Featured News 2016 Birth Injury: Facial Nerve Palsy

Birth Injury: Facial Nerve Palsy

As a parent, you want nothing more than for your baby to be born healthy. A mother can read all of the baby books, take prenatal vitamins, avoid certain foods, such as tuna and raw fish, and attend all of her prenatal checkups to ensure she gives her child the best possible start, only for something to go wrong during labor and delivery.

Unfortunately, the healthiest babies can suffer undue injuries during the labor and delivery process. When such injuries occur because of a doctor or nurse's negligence, the child can be a victim of medical malpractice.

One common birth injury is "facial nerve palsy," also known as seventh cranial nerve palsy, which can lead to permanent facial paralysis in an otherwise health infant.

Facial Nerve Palsy Caused by Birth Trauma

What is facial nerve palsy? It is a condition where an infant loses voluntary muscle movement in their face. The condition is caused by pressure being placed on a certain facial nerve just before or during delivery. Often, facial nerve palsy occurs in births involving forceps.

Some factors associated with birth trauma, include:

  • A long labor
  • A large baby, especially if the mother has diabetes
  • The use of epidural anesthesia
  • The use of medication, such as Oxytocin to start or accelerate labor

When an infant has facial nerve palsy from birth trauma, it may only affect the lower part of the facial nerve, which is most noticeable around the lips. Typical symptoms include: an eyelid that cannot close on the affected side, the face is uneven when the infant cries, the mouth does not move the same on both sides, and in serious cases, there is no movement on the affected side of the face (facial paralysis).

In the most severe cases, the paralyses can extend from the infant's forehead down to the chin. While this condition usually goes away on its own, sometimes the face is permanently paralyzed, and the child suffers a lifelong disability.

If your child's face is paralyzed due to forceps use, you may have a medical malpractice lawsuit. Contact a medical malpractice attorney to discuss filing a claim for compensation.

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