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Can a doctor cause a newborn to have diaphragm paralysis?

On Behalf of | Oct 30, 2021 | Birth Injuries

As an expectant mother, you undoubtedly looked forward to hearing your new baby cry for the first time. After all, a baby’s cry soon after birth is a tell-tale sign of good health. If your new son or daughter cannot breathe properly, though, letting out a hearty cry may be downright impossible.

The diaphragm plays a critical role in inhaling and exhaling. This muscle sits just under your baby’s lungs, providing a separation between the lungs and stomach. If your baby has diaphragm paralysis, the muscle cannot facilitate breathing.

What is phrenic nerve palsy?

The human body has trillions of nerves, each playing a different-sized part in body movement and cognitive function. The phrenic nerve is one of the more important ones, as it provides motor control to the diaphragm. If this nerve sustains damage before, during or after birth, it may no longer function. Doctors call this type of paralysis phrenic nerve palsy.

Why does phrenic nerve palsy happen?

Certain congenital birth defects may increase a newborn’s chances of developing phrenic nerve palsy. More commonly, though, babies with the condition went through some type of trauma during delivery. That is, doctors may inadvertently damage a newborn’s phrenic nerve during the birthing process. Errors in prenatal care may also share some blame.

Is phrenic nerve palsy treatable?

Even though modern medicine gives doctors a variety of options for treating many maladies, repairing damaged nerves can be virtually impossible. While surgery or other treatments may minimize the effects of phrenic nerve palsy, your child may never breathe normally.

Ultimately, if a doctor or another medical professional committed malpractice during your pregnancy or childbirth, pursuing financial compensation may give you access to the resources you need to obtain first-rate care for your new baby.