What is Bell’s Palsy?
Bell’s palsy is a condition that causes the muscles on one side of your face to suddenly become weakened or paralyzed. It is a disorder of the seventh cranial nerve, which controls muscle movements in the face. Bell’s palsy is not typically a long-term condition and it is believed that it can be triggered by a variety of causes including:
- Viral infections
- Sarcoidosis (causes organ inflammation)
- Medical negligence during child birth
What is Infant Bell’s Palsy?
Infant Bell’s palsy is used to describe facial paralysis in newborn babies. When pressure is applied to a newborn’s seventh cranial nerve during the birthing process, it can result in this condition. Other names used to describe infant Bell’s palsy include:
- Facial palsy – birth trauma
- Facial palsy – neonate
- Facial palsy – infant
Bell’s palsy is a typically a temporary condition that can be treated. However, it may lead to permanent paralysis and/or muscle weakness if not properly diagnosed and/or treated. It is very important you seek the advice and care of a qualified medical professional.
Damage to the Seventh Cranial Nerve
The seventh cranial nerve controls the muscles of facial expression and functions of the mouth. While doctors and researchers are still studying the causes, they believe a primary cause is the inability of the seventh cranial nerve to properly communicate with the brain.
This nerve emerges from the brain stem, and when damaged, causes weakness or paralysis of the muscles it controls. There are many different conditions that have been linked to Bell’s palsy so always consult your physician if you observe muscle weakness or paralysis in your child.
Symptoms of Infant Bell’s Palsy
Symptoms of infant Bell’s palsy include, but are not limited to:
- Eyelid not completely closing on affected side
- Increased ear sensitivity
- Uneven facial expressions
- Paralysis on the affected side (in severe cases)
While exams are not essential in diagnosing this condition, physicians can use evoked tests to challenge an infant’s sensory perception and hearing. If necessary, they may order a nerve conduction study to pinpoint the exact location of nerve damage.
Child Birth Injury Attorneys
Infant Bell’s palsy is a complex condition that doctors and researchers are learning more about everyday. In order to establish whether it was caused by negligence or another possible cause, one must evaluate and exclude the other potential causes. If the injury is long-term, the time and expense of such a study may be warranted. If it is a mild case that goes away with proper care without lasting effects, then pursuing it may be cost prohibitive.
If you or a loved one has a child who has suffered due to the negligence of a doctor, contact us today. Call 1-800-298-0111 to schedule a free consultation.
*Information provided on this page is for educational purposes only and is not intended for nor should it be relied upon as medical advice. Always consult your physician.
Paul Cannon has practiced personal injury trial law since 1995. He is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law (2005). He has earned recognition as a Super Lawyer by Thompson Reuters in 2017 & 2018, and as a Top 100 Trial Lawyer by the National Trial Lawyers Association in 2017. He is a Shareholder, trial lawyer and online marketing manager at Simmons and Fletcher, P.C. His legal writings have been published by the Texas Bar Journal, Business.com, Lawyer.com HG Legal Resources, Lawfirms.com, and others. He has been asked to give education talks and media interviews on dog bite law.