Harrisburg Medical Malpractice Lawyers
Handle Facial Nerve Palsy and Paralysis Birth Injury Claims
Facial nerve palsy or paralysis occurs when specific muscles or nerves are compressed, stretched or damaged during the birthing process. The facial nerve, also called the seventh cranial nerve, is responsible for facial movements such as smiling, frowning and squinting. Any damage to this nerve can result in temporary or permanent loss of function in a child’s face. Typically, a newborn facial nerve injury only affects one side of the face.
Facial Nerve Injuries Caused by Birth Trauma
Facial nerve injuries at birth can occur when forceps are used in a delivery or when excessive pressure is exerted on an infant’s head by the mother’s pelvis during labor. Forceps are assistive tools that are frequently used in the delivery room during difficult deliveries. When these instruments are carefully used in the proper manner, they can be quite helpful in facilitating a baby through a mother’s pelvic region. Unfortunately, there are some instances in which these instruments are improperly used causing substantial injuries to the baby including injuries to the facial nerves. In other situations, a baby’s head may sustain too much pressure as it passes through the pelvic region. This can occur as a result of an infant being of a larger size, a mother’s pelvis being small or during a facial presentation birth.
Symptoms of Facial Nerve Palsy or Paralysis
Some of the more common signs and symptoms of a facial nerve palsy injury include:
- Incomplete closure of the eye on the affected side
- Facial asymmetry when the baby is crying
- Impaired movements of the lip or no movement at all
- Absence of forehead wrinkling
- Loss of sensation
- Difficulty sucking and feeding
Treatment for Newborn Facial Nerve Palsy
While most infants with a facial nerve palsy injury will recover on their own within a few months, there are specific precautions that need to be taken to prevent any further damage. Meticulous attention to eye care is imperative for infants whose eyelids do not fully close. In order to prevent corneal damage, the eyes need to be routinely kept lubricated with artificial tears or ointment. Medications such as corticosteroids are sometimes used to decrease any inflammation as a means to increase a child’s chances for a full recovery.
Unfortunately, in some cases, the injured muscles and nerves do not heal and damage may persist. To achieve the best outcome, several different therapies may be warranted depending on the severity of damage. Children may require services from a speech or language therapist to help with any speech difficulties. A physical therapy or facial rehabilitative therapy regimen may be prescribed to help strengthen the affected muscles. Ongoing care by an ophthalmologist is usually indicated. Surgical treatments such as muscle or nerve transfers may be considered as a means to improve facial movements or to help restore symmetry. Aside from the physical consequences of a facial paralysis injury, children may also suffer emotionally as well due to the noticeable facial disfigurement. It is important to continually address a child’s psychological and social needs as they grow up.
Pittsburgh Medical Malpractice Law Firm: Dedicated to Achieving Justice for Birth Injury Victims throughout Pennsylvania
If your child has suffered a facial nerve injury or any other type of birth injury caused by negligent medical care, contact the Pittsburgh medical malpractice lawyers at The Moyles Law Firm as soon as possible to arrange for a review of your case. We will determine if your child’s condition could have been prevented and if you are entitled to recover compensation. Our medical malpractice lawyers in Pittsburgh have extensive experience in investigating, preparing and litigating complex medical malpractice claims in Pennsylvania. We are proud of the success we have had in achieving favorable results for our clients as well as in attaining justice by holding health care providers accountable for their negligence.
To schedule a free consultation with one of our reputable Pittsburgh birth injury lawyers, call the Law Offices of James R. Moyles today at our Pittsburgh office at 412-281-1055 or our Harrisburg office at 717-233-5400 or if you prefer, you may contact us online.