Facial Paralysis

Whether it’s our eyes or our smiles, our faces command the most attention when making first impressions. They’re not just where we speak from, but also how we emote and add emphasis in verbal and non-verbal ways. For these reasons and much more, our faces are incredibly important to not just how we function, but also who we are. Unfortunately, medical malpractice can result in paralysis that keeps our faces from working like they once did.

Sadder still is that often this medical malpractice happens to a baby during the birthing process. The child will never know what it’s like to have full control over their face, and it happened through absolutely no fault of their own.

Infant Facial Paralysis Due to Pressure

There are some reasons this sort of thing could occur. For example, the child’s face might undergo an excessive amount of pressure during birth that eventually damages a facial nerve. This could happen during labor or delivery. If that nerve is permanently injured, the child will never recover and gain full functionality.

It’s difficult to figure out what exactly causes this much pressure. The birth canal could be responsible. Just about any factor related to a long, difficult delivery may also be the culprit.

When the Doctor Is to Blame

As we mentioned above, you really can’t count out the role the doctor played in the delivery. The same goes for any of the medical staff who were in attendance during the birthing process. Sometimes, it’s the pressure from the forceps that the doctor was using which eventually damaged one of the baby’s facial nerves.

There are all kinds of other tools that might get used improperly as well. Even a specific type of vacuum can get applied to pull the child out by its head if it doesn’t seem to be moving out of the birth canal smoothly enough. This kind of device is safe, but plenty of babies have been injured during delivery because of this machine.


Sometimes medical malpractice is an issue even though the doctor and medical staff didn’t do anything. That’s the whole point. You can make the argument that they should have known better than not to take action when that would have prevented the injury from happening.

Perhaps it should have been clear to a medical professional that the birth canal would prove problematic during delivery, but because this was missed, excessive pressure was used.

Looking for Symptoms

It’s not like a child can explain that they’re having trouble moving their face. Paralysis may not cause enough discomfort to make them cry or otherwise act out about it either. Babies being babies, it’s also very difficult to tell what they’re trying to do with their faces.

Still, there are some symptoms to be aware of. Weakness in the muscle around their lips should be fairly easy to catch sight of when they’re crying. You’ll probably notice unevenness to the lower half of their face when they cry. In severe cases, they may not move their mouths at all. If they have trouble closing both eyelids, that’s a telltale sign too.

Temporary Damage

The good news is that even if you notice these kinds of symptoms, that doesn’t necessarily mean the damage is permanent. In fact, usually, it will resolve itself.

Nonetheless, if you notice any of the above symptoms, you’ll want to take your child to the doctor to be sure. This is also how you can find out if malpractice was an issue with the surgeon who delivered your child.

Should you find out malpractice was the problem, you have to speak with an experienced attorney ASAP.


  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12525194