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Understanding Facial Nerve Palsy due to Birth Trauma

When the medical team fails to take proper care during the birth of a child, the infant or the mother could suffer harm. Facial nerve palsy, also known as "Bell's palsy," is one type of harm that can result.

Facial nerve palsy occurs when the facial nerve, also known as the seventh cranial nerve, is injured. This nerve can be damaged during an infant's birth, especially if the birth is difficult or if tools like forceps are used during birth.

Often, parents and caregivers are the first people to notice that something is not right. A newborn may show symptoms of having nerve damage on only one side of the face. For example, the parents might notice that the baby's eyelid may not close on one side, or that the cheek or mouth doesn't move in the same way on both sides when the baby cries. In some cases, the infant may have no facial movement at all on the side that suffered the nerve damage.

A physical examination of the infant by a pediatrician will often confirm that the baby has suffered facial nerve palsy. In some cases, doctors may perform a nerve conduction study to determine exactly where the damage is located on the nerve. While some cases of facial nerve palsy heal on their own, others cause lasting damage that requires special treatment and therapy to help the child regain as much control over the facial muscles as possible.

At Cullan & Cullan LLC, our experienced Omaha birth injury attorneys can help you determine the cause of birth trauma and seek the compensation your child deserves. Contact us today to learn more about your rights and legal options.


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