Denver Facial Paralysis Lawyers
About one in every 33 babies in the United States is born with a defect, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. One such defect is facial nerve palsy, which involves the loss of controllable (voluntary) muscle movement in an infant’s face due to pressure on the facial nerve just before or at the time of birth.
A birth injury like this can change the course of a child’s life. When negligent medical practitioners cause facial paralysis, they are the ones who should be held responsible for the child’s medical bills, the parents’ expenses, and the pain and suffering of the entire family. Our Denver medical malpractice lawyers at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. have handled hundreds of birth injury claims throughout the country. For a no-cost consultation about your situation, please call toll-free at (877) 433-3906 today.
Facial nerve palsy, or facial paralysis, can manifest itself through various symptoms, including:
- Eyelid may not close on affected side
- Lower face (below eyes) appears uneven during crying
- Mouth does not move down the same way on both sides while crying
- No movement on the affected side of the face (from forehead to the chin in severe cases)
In mild cases, infants with facial nerve palsy are monitored to see if the paralysis goes away without intervention. If an eye cannot close, an eye pad and eyedrops are used to protect the baby’s eye. In more serious cases, surgery may be needed to relieve pressure on the nerves.
Unfortunately, all of these treatments may not entirely cure an infant’s facial nerve palsy. An infant with permanent paralysis may need special ongoing therapy (MedlinePlus).
Facial paralysis is usually associated with a difficult delivery. Factors that can affect birth trauma include:
- Large baby size (may be seen if the mother has diabetes)
- Long pregnancy or prolonged labor
- Use of epidural anesthesia
- Use of medications, such as Pitocin or Cytotec, to cause labor and stronger contractions
Studies show that most cases of facial nerve palsy are caused by trauma associated with the use of forceps during childbirth (NCBI). In certain circumstances, forceps may be used to pull the baby along the birth canal. However, forceps can cause injury if the doctor applies too much pressure on the forceps blade around the baby’s head. Forceps should only be used in specific situations – and by experienced physicians.
Patients trust doctors to make responsible decisions about whether or not to use an epidural, labor-inducing drugs, or forceps during delivery. When doctors make a wrong decision or use tools incorrectly and it leads to injury, they should be held responsible.
To demonstrate that your child’s facial paralysis is due to medical malpractice, your attorneys must prove:
- A doctor-patient relationship existed. This can be easily proved through medical documentation.
- The doctor was negligent. You must show that the doctor did not meet the standard of care in the given situation.
- Your child suffered as a direct result of the doctor’s negligence.
Doctors are expected to meet the standard of care in the delivery room, and when their carelessness with forceps or the use of drugs results in your child’s injury, you deserve to be compensated for medical bills and pain and suffering. Every state has its own statutes of limitations, or deadlines, for filing personal injury claims. The sooner you begin your process, the better.
If you’d like to consult with an attorney about your case at no cost, give the Denver office of Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. a call at (303) 759-9945. Our nationally-acclaimed lawyers are at the forefront of birth injury research and litigation, and have won several record-breaking verdicts for deserving clients. Our firm has the resources and the experience to tackle the biggest hospitals, so do not hesitate to contact us if you suspect negligence caused your baby’s facial paralysis.