Giving an epidural to a laboring mother requires special training and experience. Medical mistakes lead to epidural related birth injuries and can cause serious consequences for the mother, the child, or both. The consequences can be permanent and devastating, but they are also preventable. If you or your child suffered a birth injury related to an epidural during childbirth, you may have grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit.
Epidurals offer a relatively safe and effective way to reduce or eliminate the pain of childbirth, as long as the medical professionals tasked with administering them do so correctly. If you believe you or your infant suffered birth injuries because of an epidural-related medical mistake, you may want to talk to a birth injury attorney in your state.
For a free legal consultation, call 1-800-222-9529
Medical Mistakes Can Cause Epidural-Related Birth Injuries
Because of the dangers of an improperly administered epidural, only anesthesiologists or nurse-anesthetists who have the proper training and experience can place epidurals. Any deviation from the accepted protocol and standard of care could be a life-changing medical mistake for the mother, baby, or both.
Some relatively common epidural-related medical mistakes include:
- Giving too high a dose or too frequent a dose
- Overlooking or failing to consider maternal allergies
- Placing the needle incorrectly, such as in the wrong area
- Administering the epidural too early in the labor process so that labor stalls
- Giving an epidural to a mother when it is unsafe to do so, such as when a mother has an extremely low blood count
- Failing to adequately monitor both the mother and the baby for any signs of fetal distress
Depending on the unique circumstances of what happened during labor and delivery, the birth injuries suffered, and how they occurred, any of these medical mistakes could support a valid medical malpractice case. While doctors, like all people, can make errors, they can also be held liable for their careless or negligent behavior.
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Medical Professionals Must Follow Proper Protocols
Doctors, anesthesiologists, and other medical professionals have a duty to provide an acceptable standard of care to every patient. Failure to do so could constitute negligence. A big part of this is following the proper protocols for giving medications and other tasks. This is no different when placing an epidural. The protocol used is a process called “The Four Ps.” This includes:
- Preparation: Choosing the correct tools, needle, catheter, medication, and dose
- Position: Putting the woman in the best position—usually on her side—to ensure the medical professional can get a good placement, usually on her side
- Projection: Putting the needle in the right place to get it into the necessary space
- Puncture: Entering the spinal column without penetrating too far and damaging the spinal sac
Any deviation from this process or error at any point could cause birth injuries like seizures and (hypotonia) poor muscle tone. For that reason, this protocol and process are key in ensuring both mother and baby have a safe, pain-free birth.
Birth Injury Lawsuits
Epidural-related birth injuries are relatively rare when compared to some other types of birth injuries, but they can still support medical malpractice cases in some situations. The best way to learn if you have a valid case against a doctor or hospital is to make an appointment to discuss your case with a birth injury lawyer in your state. During your free case evaluation and consultation, they will be able to talk to you about:
- Your right to pursue compensation and justice
- The strength of your case
- The criteria you will need to meet to prove this type of case in your state
- Any deadlines that apply to your case under your state’s laws
- Your legal options for pursuing a payout to cover your child’s medical care and other damages
Your attorney knows that medical mistakes lead to epidural related birth injuries and will likely work with a network of medical care providers who you can call on to help you prove your case, including testifying to the acceptable standard of care you should have received in your case. With a strong case against the doctor or hospital, your attorney may be able to reach an out-of-court settlement or prove your case and win an award in court on your family’s behalf.
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Talk to a Birth Injury Attorney in Your State Today
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can connect you with a medical malpractice attorney who regularly takes on birth injury cases in your state and knows the laws regarding time limits and how to navigate this type of legal action.
Call (800) 222-9529 today to get started.