Epidurals are a widely accepted and efficient way of handling tremendous pain during labor. In fact, more than half of women in labor request an epidural.
While it’s commonly practiced, there are still many risks involved.
Most of the risks associated with epidurals can further cause lifelong injuries to you and your baby. And even more so can devastatingly lead to death if the medication is not carefully administered and managed.
We’re going to explain what epidurals are, how they work, the risks involved and how they cause birth defects and injuries.
Lastly, we’ll review the most common forms of mistakes involved with the procedure and how you have grounds for an epidural birth injury lawsuit.
If you and your baby were the victim of an epidural injury, then you deserve justice and compensation.
What are epidurals?
Epidurals are a form of anesthesia which helps treat the immense pain mothers experience during labor, and can be given at any point during labor at the mother’s request.
Research has found that nearly 71% of pregnant women receive epidurals.
An epidural can either be injected in the space around the spinal nerves or can be administered via a catheter.
A catheter is more commonly used by medical providers as it allows them to continuously administer the anesthesia throughout the delivery.
Epidurals are used because they inhibit the spinal nerves from sending pain signals to the brain by temporarily numbing the spinal nerves.
A mother who’s been given an epidural will experience numbness from the belly button to the upper legs, which enables her to still be alert and able to feel pressure.
They are typically given by certified anesthesiologists because of the specialized education required for such high dosing of anesthesia.
The epidural must be given properly and safely — any misstep in the procedure can put both the mother and baby at risk.
Risks associated with epidurals
However common epidural procedures may be, there are many risks associated that lead to further health complications and birth injuries.
If too much medication is given, the mother may not be able to feel the pressure or sensation to push when needed. This can cause prolonged labor or a difficult delivery.
Another risk is if the mother’s blood pressure begins to drop. In that case, the baby’s heart rate will also begin to slow down.
Tragically, this can lead to death if not properly observed and managed.
Other common risks associated with epidurals include:
- Temporary loss of bladder control
- Allergic reactions
- Nerve Damage
All of these risks can cause further birth injuries and defects to your baby, which could have been prevented.
Can epidurals cause birth defects?
Epidurals can cause accidents and risks in labor if your medical provider does not provide the standard level of care when administering the medication.
When anesthesiologists, or medical providers, provide an epidural they must consider the mother’s past medical history, manage the administration and dosing, and continue to monitor the baby and mother’s overall well-being throughout the delivery.
Any misstep or mistake in that protocol can cause serious birth injuries and defects.
For example, if the mother is given too much medication and needs assistance with delivery, like use of vacuum extractor or forceps, the risk of a birth injury drastically increases.
Many of the risks we mentioned can cause a wide range of birth injuries and defects. Some of the most common birth injuries during labor include:
- Bruising and swelling
- Bleeding in the brain
- Oxygen deprivation
- Spinal cord and other nerve injuries
- Brachial palsy
- Erb’s Palsy
- Developmental Delays
If your baby has suffered from any of the above injuries, or any other injury, call an experienced malpractice attorney to discuss filing an epidural birth injury lawsuit.
You deserve compensation for you and your baby’s injury. Your child may require lifelong treatment, therapy and possible surgery to be able to maintain their quality of life.
These kinds of damages are irreversible and should be brought to justice.
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Epidural injection injuries and newborns
When an expecting mother receives an inadequate epidural, she is also put at risk for severe health complications, such as cardiac arrest, low blood pressure, and other emergency situations — which could be fatal for both the mother and baby.
In urgent and critical situations, inefficient actions, or negligent actions, taken by medical personnel can be fatal.
Medical negligence occurs when the providing medical team did not organize, confirm a treatment plan and take action in a timely manner, which disrupts and causes hardships during labor.
Traumatic or difficult labor can lead to emergency cesarean sections. Sometimes the best possible outcome is to induce labor. Nonetheless, a traumatic delivery increases the risk of birth injuries and accidents to you and your baby.
Another example of negligence would be if the mother has a past medical history that would be affected by an epidural, like taking blood thinners.
If a medical provider still administers an epidural, knowing the chance of hemorrhaging increases, then they can be held legally responsible for the injuries and damages that followed.
Common examples of epidural malpractice include:
- Injecting the medication improperly
- Administering too much medication
- Not providing information on risks involved to the mother, or not getting maternal permission
- Not carefully monitoring fetal and maternal distress
- Administering the injection too soon
Grover Lewis Johnson is on your side
If your baby has suffered an injury caused by the negligence of your medical provider, contact a medical malpractice attorney immediately.
They can review your claim and provide you with their best possible outcome of your lawsuit.
The experienced malpractice team at Grover Lewis Johnson have expertise with epidural birth injuries and will fearlessly fight for you and your baby.
Fill out our intake form to start your legal pursuit over a no-cost consultation.