Facial nerve palsy in children may be acquired or congenital. When the condition is acquired, it can arise due to inflammatory, infective, neoplastic, iatrogenic or traumatic causes. If it is congenital, it might be the result of malformative disease, genetic disease or trauma during delivery. In between 40 and 75 percent of cases, the cause is idiopathic. Parents in Texas whose children suffered injuries during birth may have claims for damages. Birth injuries can lead to facial nerve palsy or other conditions.
If the etiology of the condition is unknown, which is roughly 50 percent of cases, it is classified as Bell’s palsy, named after the doctor who first described the weakness of the facial nerves in 1821. Approximately 70 percent of Bell’s palsy cases have good prognoses, with the condition resolving itself within three months.
Congenital paralysis cases can be caused by delivery trauma or developmental defects. The most common cause of congenital paralysis is perinatal trauma. Babies usually recover full cranial nerve function within a few months. The main risk factors tied to facial paralysis due to trauma are cesarean birth, prematurity, mother’s first birth, use of forceps and birth weight of over 3,500 grams.
Treatment of the condition depends on its severity and etiology. If paralysis results from delivery trauma, the treatment might be different than if it was caused by an infection. When the baby or the mother suffer injuries during childbirth, there may be claims available to them for medical malpractice.
An attorney with experience practicing medical malpractice law might be able to review the circumstances of birth injuries and identify parties who may be liable. Legal counsel could ultimately negotiate a settlement with medical professionals, health care facilities or insurers. If the case cannot be settled, an attorney might draft and file a complaint for medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages or other damages.