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Laryngeal nerve injury in newborns

Laryngeal nerve injury is a problem that can affect newborns in Arizona. When an infant's laryngeal nerve is injured, the injury causes a disturbance that can affect the infant's ability to breath and swallow normally. Babies who are born with a laryngeal nerve injury usually have a hoarse cry or respiratory stridor due to paralysis of the laryngeal nerve.

A laryngeal nerve injury is often the result of the infant's position while in the uterus. Before presenting with symptoms of laryngeal nerve injury, an infant might have been positioned with the head rotated and bent to one side. However, about 10 percent of laryngeal nerve injury cases are found to have been the result of a birth injury caused by the same type of head movement during delivery.

If there is trauma to both laryngeal nerves, an infant may be born with bilateral paralysis. They often have asphyxia or serious respiratory distress when they are born. In most cases, symptoms of laryngeal nerve damage are gone within about four to six weeks. More severe cases could take six months to a year to resolve. Caring for an infant with laryngeal nerve injury often involves giving small feedings many times during the day in order to prevent aspiration.

Birth injury cases involving the laryngeal nerve are sometimes the result of a physician's negligence. If parents suspect that their baby's injury could have been prevented with proper medical care, they may want to consider filing a medical malpractice lawsuit. An attorney can assist a client in such a situation by investigating the circumstances surrounding the delivery in order to determine if a health care practitioner is indeed responsible

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

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