Infants who are born during a traumatic birth in Texas may experience facial nerve palsy as a result. Facial nerve palsy is a condition that causes the loss of the voluntary muscles in the infant’s face. In an estimated 88% of cases of facial nerve palsy, the cause is due to birth trauma.
The symptoms of facial nerve palsy include the infant not being able to completely close his or her eye on the affected side, the infant’s lips not moving the same while crying, the infant’s lower face being uneven under the eyes or having no discernible movement on the affected side of the face. The condition is typically diagnosed with a physical exam although it is sometimes necessary to complete a nerve conduction test to pinpoint the exact location of the injured nerve.
Birth trauma can cause a variety of birth injuries, including facial nerve palsy. Traumatic births may be due to the use of forceps, a large-sized infant, medications that were administered to induce labor, long labor or the use of epidural anesthesia. Treatment for facial nerve palsy typically includes monitoring the condition to see if it heals on its own, using eye drops to moisten the eye or performing surgery.
Obstetricians often are extremely busy at the hospital and may be responsible for delivering several babies within a short amount of time. Some doctors may induce labor or use forceps to speed labor and delivery. When a birth injury occurs due to a doctor’s negligence, this is a form of medical malpractice. A lawyer may be able to help a family with an infant who has facial nerve palsy to receive medical and compensatory damages by filing a civil claim. If it can be proven that the doctor behaved negligently, damages may be awarded to the injured party.