Facial Paralysis Birth Injury Lawyers in Austin
What is a birth injury?
Generally speaking, a birth injury is any physical damage suffered by a child or its mother during labor or delivery. The vast majority of birth injuries are suffered by the child. Birth injuries can be very mild, involving nothing more than mild bruises. Other birth injuries can be extremely serious. Depending on the complications suffered by the mother or child during labor and delivery, a baby could be left without the use of his/her arm, partially paralyzed or with cerebral palsy. Some birth injuries are so severe that they require life-long medical attention and treatment; others can be fixed with surgery or physical therapy.
What causes a birth injury?
According to the United States National Library of Medicine (NLM) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH), facial paralysis is caused by nerve damage in the infant's face just before delivery. The facial nerve, also known as the seventh cranial nerve, can be damaged in a variety of ways. For instance, a large baby is more likely to suffer from facial paralysis than a smaller baby. Larger babies may experience greater pressure in the birth canal. This pressure may result in nerve damage and facial paralysis. Prolonged labor and delivery can also increase the chance of birth injury. Birth trauma may be caused by the use of an epidural anesthesia. Also, medication used to induce labor may increase the likelihood of the child or mother suffering a birth injury.
If a doctor administers medication to create stronger contractions, the baby's nerves may become damaged. These situations do not necessitate birth trauma, but they tend to be associated with birth injuries. Sometimes, medical negligence is responsible for a birth injury. For instance, if a doctor uses a vacuum extractor or pair of forceps incorrectly, the child's facial nerves may become damaged, resulting in facial paralysis. Sometimes, babies cannot be delivered safely without assistance. In situations like this, doctors may decide to perform an emergency caesarean section. If a caesarean section is necessary but the doctor carelessly fails to diagnose the problem soon enough, the baby may suffer an unnecessary birth injury.
Symptoms of Facial Paralysis
Most cases of facial paralysis affect the lower half of the child's face. If the injury is slight, doctors and nurses may not notice it while the baby is still at the hospital. Most of the time facial paralysis injuries are noticed immediately - especially when the child cries. Paralysis is symptomized by the child's inability to close his/her eyelid all the way, unevenness below the eyes, an inability to move the mouth down in the same way on both sides while crying and the inability to move the affected side of the face.
In extremely severe cases, children suffering from facial paralysis are unable to move their faces from their foreheads to their chins. If a doctor of nurse suspects that a child is suffering from facial paralysis, a physical examination will probably be conducted. Occasionally, doctors conduct nerve studies to determine exactly where the nerve damage took place. Brain imaging may be required if the doctors believe that the paralysis is form a tumor or other medical condition. However, the vast majority of facial paralysis cases can be diagnosed through physical examinations and observation.
Treatment Options and Complications
Most of the time, the child will be observed over a period of time to see whether or not the nerves heal. Some cases of facial paralysis heal by themselves. If the paralysis continues, the injury may require physical therapy. If the infant's condition does not improve in several months, he/she may be diagnosed with permanent facial paralysis. If you believe that your child has suffered facial paralysis, contact your doctor and schedule a physical examination. If your child's injury was the result of a careless medical professional, you may be entitled to financial compensation.
At Zinda Law Group, we believe that careless and negligent doctors, nurses and other medical professionals should be held responsible for their actions. The birth of a new child should be filled with happiness, anticipation and excitement - not the stress and uncertainty of a birth injury. To make sure that your rights are protected, call us. With a high quality personal injury attorney fighting for you, you can have peace of mind that your case is in good hands. An innocent child should never suffer because of a careless mistake - if your family has been affected by an avoidable birth injury, contact us today.