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Laryngeal nerve injuries and medical malpractice

A laryngeal nerve injury can happen before or during the birth of some infants in Florida. While the injury may occur due to the position of the baby's neck before birth, it may also happen during the delivery stage. The baby's head may be turned in such a way as to cause the injury, and this can result in vocal cord paralysis or bilateral paralysis. The baby may have a hoarse cry and may have trouble swallowing as a result.

Recovery from paralysis as a result of a laryngeal nerve injury may take only a few weeks, but in some cases, it may take as long as a year. Vocal cord paralysis that results in respiratory problems may be difficult to diagnose and must be done by a direct laryngoscopic examination. It may be necessary to feed an infant with this condition only a small amount at a time to prevent aspiration. If this is a bilateral paralysis, a tracheotomy may be needed.

If an infant has suffered an injury of this type as a result of medical malpractice by the medical practitioners involved in the delivery, the parents may wish to consider filing a lawsuit if it can be shown that they did not adhere to what would be considered a standard duty of care. If a medical professional did something during delivery that caused the laryngeal nerve injury, this might be considered malpractice. For example, the baby may have been moved too roughly during delivery, or instruments may have been used incorrectly.

Damages awarded in such a case might cover additional medical costs incurred as a result of the injury. Filing such a lawsuit may also help to hold medical professionals and organizations accountable.

Source: Medscape, "Laryngeal Nerve Injury", Nirupama Laroia, Feb. 2, 2015

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