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Cause and treatment of damaged laryngeal nerves

Most New Mexico parents who are expecting a baby anticipate that the delivery process will happen safely. However, there is always a risk that the infant may suffer an injury during the birth. In some cases, infants can suffer nerve damage during assisted deliveries. Laryngeal nerve damage can result in harm to the nerves that are attached to the child's vocal chords.

There are certain symptoms that may be present if the infant suffered damage to the laryngeal nerves. These can include trouble swallowing, hypoxia or even hemorrhage. In some cases, the infant may exhibit severe respiratory distress or may asphyxiate. Doctors may believe that something could be wrong if the infant has a particularly hoarse cry or a respiratory stridor.

While the symptoms may be there, doctors must perform a direct laryngoscopic examination in order to diagnose laryngeal nerve damage. This examination allows doctors to ensure that the respiratory distress is being caused by the paralysis of the laryngeal nerves and not something else. The actual treatment of paralyzed nerves will depend on the severity of the injury. In most cases, the injury will heal on its own or the condition can be improved through voice therapy. If the injury is severe, surgeons can change the position of the paralyzed nerves to improve speech.

While the nerve can heal itself over time in many cases, it can be permanently damaged in others. If a negligent doctor caused the infant's birth injury, the parents may want to consider bringing a medical malpractice lawsuit against the responsible physician and the hospital where the injury took place. An attorney can help estimate the total cost of future medical bills that will be associated with the injury and assist the family in seeking compensation.

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

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