In many cases, a doctor can prevent Bell’s Palsy from occurring during birth along with other conditions related to nerve damage that can occur during birth. If a doctor or other medical care professional fails to protect a baby from a serious, preventable injury—or worse, causes the injury—this may be medical negligence and grounds for a birth injury lawsuit.
Below, we discuss how a medical professional can prevent Bell’s palsy. We also discuss how this might be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
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Delivery Trauma Is a Common Cause of Bell’s Palsy in Newborns
A study published in the World Journal of Clinical Cases supports that Bell’s palsy often occurs in newborns due to delivery trauma. Bell’s palsy is likely to occur after a newborn gets stuck in the birth canal. If the baby is not moving down the birth canal properly, the doctor should follow a specific protocol for determining why and addressing the cause. For example, if a shoulder becomes stuck, there are specific techniques for turning the baby.
Yanking too hard or in the wrong direction, or improperly using tools such as forceps or a vacuum extractor device can cause a number of birth injuries including Bell’s palsy. This type of careless medical treatment may support a birth injury claim or lawsuit. Other types of medical negligence, such as not ordering a C-section for a difficult pregnancy, can be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
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Risk Factors for Bell’s Palsy in Newborns
Some factors increase the risk that a newborn might suffer Bell’s palsy. In general, these are also risk factors for other types of birth injuries that occur after a large baby becomes stuck in the birth canal. In some cases, when the mother and baby have many risk factors for a birth injury, the doctor should consider other options for safe delivery.
Risk factors for Bell’s palsy from a birth injury include:
- The infant is larger than most
- The delivery required the use of forceps
- Long pregnancy
- Use of an epidural
- Cephalo-pelvic disproportion (baby’s head too large to fit through pelvis)
Mayo Clinic reports that sometimes Bell’s palsy is the result of a viral infection that could have been diagnosed before birth through routine screening and monitoring of the mother and child. If your doctor missed a major medical condition that required an early diagnosis, this may also be grounds for a birth injury claim.
Bell’s Palsy Lawsuits
Often, a doctor can prevent Bell’s Palsy from occurring during birth. If doctors diagnosed your child with Bell’s palsy shortly after their birth and you believe a birth injury may have caused it, you should discuss your options with an attorney who is familiar with birth injury law. You may be eligible to hold the doctor or hospital liable.
Your attorney will enlist the help of a medical expert to prove the doctor or other medical care provider acted negligently and caused your infant’s injuries. They can also demonstrate the financial and emotional effects Bell’s palsy has had on your family and pursue a payout to cover these losses.
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You Should Act Now to Learn More
Each state has its own statute of limitations that sets a deadline on how long you have to take legal action. The laws that govern this type of case vary from state to state. Some states also have rules that allow families of children who sustain birth injuries to toll (i.e., pause) the statute of limitations until the child reaches a set age. If you fail to file a lawsuit within the deadline, you will likely be unable to recover the compensation you need to cover your child’s medical bills and other complications.
Determining how these rules apply in your case is often complex, so it is best if you work closely with an attorney who regularly handles birth injury cases in your state.
Talk to a Birth Injury Lawyer About Your Case Today
If your child suffered Bell’s palsy because of a birth injury, the Birth Injury Lawyers Group can help. Let us connect you with a lawyer near you who takes on this type of case and is familiar with the laws in your state. We can help you learn more about your legal options for holding the doctor or hospital accountable.
Call (800) 222-9529 today to speak the Birth Injury Lawyers Group.