New South Wales Customer Service Minister Victor Dominello was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy shortly after attending a press conference on Aug. 18. While speaking to the press on Wednesday as part of the daily COVID-19 press briefing, some people noticed that Dominello had difficulty keeping one eye open and his face was drooping. They got in touch with the minister’s office, urging him to seek medical help.
“Some people thought I was winking at the cameraman. Some thought I had a stroke,” Dominello said through his Instagram account. The minister confirmed that he was diagnosed with Bell’s palsy.
He admitted to having previously experienced “pain in my skull behind my right ear and pins and needles on the right side of my tongue” roughly 48 hours prior to the conference. After people sent him a screenshot of the press conference and contacted his office advising him to seek medical help, Dominello took matters seriously.
Bell’s palsy is paralysis of one side of the face, which mostly results from inflammation or damage to the nerves. The majority of Bell’s palsy patients tend to achieve a full recovery over a span of three to six months with a noticeable change in symptoms within two weeks. Viral infections are reported to be the most frequent cause of the condition.
Dominello thanked the people who reached out to warn him of the condition. “We are focused on COVID but there are plenty of other health problems going on. If you have any health concerns, please get them looked after” the minister said. Dominello has since been placed on medication and is now required to wear a patch over his right eye.
“Given the feedback received from many people with lived experience – I am also having acupuncture. I am hoping to make a quick recovery… The patch is on my right eye – as that is the side of my face that has been frozen. The patch stops the eye from getting infected until I can start blinking with it again,” he said in a Facebook post.
Dominello has been in the news before with matters related to his health. Back in 2019, he had sustained a broken bone during an arm-wrestling bout with state Attorney-General Mark Speakman.