When your dream of giving birth to your newborn results in an injury to you or your baby, you could be left physically and emotionally devastated. Epidural birth injuries can have severe medical complications that lead to undue suffering on the part of you and your baby.
You have a right to receive compensation for existing and ongoing medical problems and costs associated with the use of an epidural during your infant’s delivery. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at 1-800-222-9529 to speak to an attorney who can help you recover damages for the injuries you or your baby suffered due to an epidural.
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Epidural Injuries Lawsuits & Injury Cases
Filing a medical malpractice claim due to a birth injury can help you recover the cost of current and future medical bills associated with your injury. However, we recommend you seek a birth injury lawyer with experience to manage your case every step of the way. A doctor’s or hospital’s insurance company will most likely deny your claim on the spot or offer you an insultingly low settlement just to make your case go away quietly. When you have reputable legal professionals by your side, you maximize your chances of receiving proper compensatory damages through a settlement or trial verdict.
To file a successful claim, you need to be prepared to prove your anesthesiologist or another member of your medical team was negligent or that the equipment or medications used in your treatment were faulty. Specifically, you must prove they failed to uphold the standard of care, which is the level of care another professional in the same field would have offered.
An attorney can prove you have recoverable economic damages like loss of income and the cost of existing and ongoing medical care. The damages you might be entitled to recover also include noneconomic damages like pain and suffering.
Filing a claim for epidural birth injuries can be challenging on your own. Our attorneys will help you understand who to hold liable for your injuries, meet the guidelines for your state, and file your claim within the specified statute of limitations. Call the Birth Injury Lawyers Group at 1-800-222-9529 for a no-cost, no-obligation consultation today.
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Epidural Injury Types
If you or your baby suffer from the debilitating symptoms of an incorrectly administered or improperly managed epidural, it may result in a diagnosis of one of these types of epidural birth injuries.
- Nerve damage
- The onset of seizures
- Unrelenting back pain
- Spinal cord injuries
- A sudden drop in blood pressure
Because epidurals can prolong labor, the baby can suffer injuries associated with longer labor (e.g., vacuum extraction or forceps injuries).
Epidural Injury Causes
Epidural birth injuries can have many causes including human error on the part of your health care team, an allergic reaction to the epidural, or the use of too much medication in the epidural. An epidural birth injury might also be caused by the injection of medication at the wrong site or a failure to properly monitor the patient for signs of maternal or fetal distress.
Epidural Injury Symptoms
The symptoms you experience in the aftermath of an epidural might include a sudden drop in your blood pressure, headache, fever and other symptoms.
The baby might suffer scalp scratches, brain damage, skull fracture, bleeding in the skull, and seizures.
Epidural Injuries Diagnosis and Treatment
Epidural birth injuries to you or your baby can present themselves in a range of ways. Their diagnoses and treatments will vary according to their severity. If your child has a low Apgar score or has difficulty breathing due to a birth injury, they will be placed in the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit) for diagnoses and treatment.
As the mother, the symptoms you display can lead your doctor to make a diagnosis of epidural-related injuries. They may prescribe treatments and medications that confirm your diagnosis and give you short- and long-term relief.
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Epidural Injuries Frequently Asked Questions
How Do I Know If My Baby Has An Epidural Injury?
If you or your baby suffer from epidural birth injuries, you may experience one or more of these symptoms. You might suffer from severe headaches, a sudden drop in blood pressure, fever, and chills. Your baby might experience many injuries related to a prolonged birth.
Are Epidural Injuries Fatal?
An epidural can pose many long-term and short-term risks. Those risks range from hypertension and severe nausea to nerve damage and paralysis. In some cases, an epidural can lead to respiratory problems, seizures, and difficulty breathing. In rare cases, an epidural can result in death.
Who Is Liable For Epidural Injuries?
If you or your newborn were injured due to an epidural, you might be able to seek compensation for your injuries from the anesthesiologist who administered the epidural. In addition to the anesthesiologist, there may be other medical and health care professionals who played a role in the outcome.
If you or your baby suffered from epidural birth injuries, our birth injury lawyers can help you determine who is liable for your injuries and what your next steps should be.
What Is The Statute of Limitations For Epidural Injuries?
A lawsuit for birth injuries and medical malpractice must be filed within a specified time from the date of the injury. This time limit, called the statute of limitations, differs from state to state. Some states limit this timeline to only one year while others allow a much longer timeframe.
When a lawsuit involves injury or damages to a minor, the statute of limitations tolls (i.e., pauses) until the child reaches their majority. At that point, the clock restarts.
Along with the statute of limitations, the statute of repose (i.e., absolute deadline) also creates limitations on your birth injury lawsuit. If you fail to abide by this time limit, it could put your claim at risk. Call 1-800-222-9529 to speak to the attorneys at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group. We can help ensure you meet the guidelines and filing requirements for your state.
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Epidural Injury Glossary Terms
- What are Spinal Membrane Injuries?
The spinal membrane covers and protects your brain and spinal cord. When the spinal membranes are injured, it can cause numbness, weakness, loss of bowel or bladder control, or paralysis.
- What is Hypertension?
Hypertension is defined as high blood pressure. High blood pressure results when the pressure in your arteries is higher than normal. Hypertension could cause heart attack and stroke.
- What are Seizures?
Seizures are characterized by uncontrolled electrical activity in the brain that results in convulsions. Untreated seizures can be caused by head injuries, brain tumors, fevers, and birth injuries.
Find An Epidural Injury Attorney Near Me
If your birth experience ended with injuries to you or your child due to the administration of an epidural, call us today. Our team can help you understand your legal options for recovery and relief, and help you receive compensation for the injuries you sustained. Call 1-800-222-9529 to speak to the attorneys at the Birth Injury Lawyers Group. Our consultation is free, and we do not collect a fee unless you reach a settlement.
Epidural Injury News
Doctors Need To Listen To Women About Epidural Needs
The decision to get an epidural or not is a complicated one. They are meant to block much of the pain of labor by numbing the nerves of the spine. Some women desire to have as natural a birth as possible. Others worry about the complications of anesthesia or wonder if the block will cause harm to the baby.
It’s worse when doctors ignore women’s concerns about their labor care. It can lead to a type of PTSD, as three women report in She Knows.com. The first woman planned not to get an epidural but then got one when the pain became too intense. The doctors gave her too high of a dose. When her blood pressure spiked later, the doctors blamed it on anxiety several times. However, she had a uterine infection and postpartum preeclampsia, which can be fatal. She developed PTSD due to the trauma of being ignored.
The second woman had pre-existing OCD and symphysis pubis dysfunction, which can cause pain in the pelvis. She wanted to only use nitrous oxide, but the pain was too intense. When she finally broke down enough to ask for pain relief, and could ask for it through the pain, she was told it was too late and the baby was coming. However, they had to do an emergency C-section to get the baby out. The trauma of the experience left a lasting mark.
The last woman, who is a little person, insisted that her doctors look at her MRIs because the spines of little people are more complicated than those of normal humans. The anesthesiologist refused to look at them, then ignored her requests for more pain medication. Thankfully, the OBGYN made him listen. But then the anesthesiologist made a callous remark about sterilizing her while she was open during her C-section.
We hope that the women in these cases, and other women in similar cases, can get compensation for what happened. Ignoring a woman’s self-reporting of symptoms opens doctors up to malpractice claims, especially if it leads to later complications.
Study Shows That Epidurals Increase Chances Of NICU Admission
One of the questions that may come up for women about to give birth is whether or not they should have an epidural. When done correctly, they do make labor much less painful but there can be worries about how it affects the baby.
A new study published in the International Journal of Women’s Health shows that epidurals may not be as safe for babies as once thought. The study wanted to see if an epidural increased the risk of admitting a baby to an NICU, along with several other risks in the first 24 hours of life.
The study looked at 2360 low-risk babies from mothers who had never given birth before. It found that admission rates were significantly higher in women who had an epidural. Babies were more likely to have respiratory distress, birth injuries, higher temperatures, a higher need for oxygen, and need antibiotics.
Mothers who had epidurals also had lengthier labor, higher temperatures, and an increased need for instruments to deliver the baby, which carries risks all of its own.
As we are not doctors, we can’t go so far as to say that an epidural is dangerous. But this new study should give doctors and mothers pause. More research needs to be done to see if an epidural causes more harm than good.
A new study may point to a new way of treating labor pain in women that would avoid the use of epidural, though the research is still preliminary. Virtual reality was shown to be effective in reducing labor pains. Medpage Today reports.
Forty women were recruited for the study, which was an unblinded randomized clinical trial. Half of the women used a labor-specific VR session for 30 minutes. that gave the women relaxing visuals and messages. The other group received no intervention. No pain medication was allowed for either group and the VR group was cleared for side effects related to VR use before participating.
The VR group experienced a reduction in pain while the control group experienced an increase. The heart rate of the control group was also about 10 points higher than the VR group. After the testing session was complete, most of the women still opted for an epidural for the remainder of labor.
Researchers are unsure whether it was the VR itself that caused the pain reduction or the fact that it was a distraction. More research is needed. Finding ways to reduce labor pains without medication could lead to less medicine used and better outcomes for babies, who can be harmed from epidurals.
What Kinds Of Medical Mistakes Can Lead To Epidural-Related Birth Injuries?
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.
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.
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 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.
What Are The Birth Injury Risks Associated With Epidurals?
Epidurals used during labor and delivery are a relatively safe way to reduce the pain of childbirth. However, when administered incorrectly or with an incorrect dosage, the baby could suffer harm. This is in addition to any ill effects, allergic reactions, or other problems the laboring mother may have.
In the vast majority of cases, an epidural is a safe and effective way to reduce or eliminate pain during delivery. However, there are birth injury risks associated with epidurals. When a doctor or other medical care provider acts negligently, however, the infant could get too much of the drug in their system leading to side effects and preventable birth injuries.
Epidural Drugs Can Affect the Infant if Given Incorrectly
When a mother receives an epidural, they should get enough medication to block nerve signals and pain without affecting the baby too much. If there is a problem with the epidural or dosage, however, it could expose the baby to higher doses of the drug than it should.
This exposure could cause significant birth injuries such as problems latching to feed and other breastfeeding concerns.
An improperly administered epidural can also prolong labor and delivery in some cases. This could mean the baby spends longer moving into, through, and out of the birth canal. Delivering the baby could require the doctor to use forceps or a vacuum extractor device, further increasing the risk of a serious birth injury.
Epidurals Are Generally Safe, as Long as Doctors Administer Them Correctly
Any time a pregnant woman takes any type of medication during pregnancy, labor, or delivery, the medication travels through her bloodstream, through the umbilical cord, and to the baby. This includes the drugs used to provide pain relief via epidural. With proper use, the amount of these drugs that reach the baby is small. They do enter the infant’s system, but there are no known-long term disadvantages to a properly administered epidurally.
Even though the delivery process can take longer when a woman has an epidural, this difference is usually not significant. It only becomes a problem when there is an additional complication, often one the doctor should have identified beforehand by monitoring the pregnancy and early labor. All too often, doctors try to deliver newborns vaginally when a cesarean section (C-section) delivery would be safer.
Diagnosing Birth Injuries Related to an Epidural
Babies who receive too much epidural medication may seem drugged, with low APGAR scores, trouble feeding, and general grogginess. As the drugs wear off, they should return to normal. If there was a brain injury or another serious injury, the signs may not be apparent immediately.
Many children with relatively mild cognitive delays, behavioral issues, or learning disabilities may have suffered a brain injury before, during, or just after birth, but the condition is unknown until they struggle to sit still, focus, or keep up with their peers in school.
Birth Injury Lawsuits
If your child suffered a birth injury after an improper epidural or another medical mistake, your family may have grounds to pursue damages through a birth injury claim or medical malpractice lawsuit. To learn more about your options and for a free case evaluation, you should discuss your case with a birth injury attorney in your state who knows about the birth injury risks associated with epidurals. They can help you understand:
- Your right to pursue compensation
- The strength of your birth injury case
- The types of damages you may be eligible to recover
- What it takes to prove your birth injury case in your state
- Any deadlines that apply to your case based on your state’s laws
If your attorney decides you have a strong enough case to go after an out-of-court settlement or courtroom verdict, they will take on your case based on contingency. This means you will pay nothing out-of-pocket and the attorney will only get paid if or when you win a payout.
Your attorney will know the types of evidence necessary to prove a birth injury case in your state and will likely have a network of trusted physicians and other care providers who can testify to help you prove:
- The acceptable standard of care in your case
- If your doctor failed to provide an acceptable standard of care
- When and how your doctor committed medical malpractice
- Your child’s prognosis
- The likely ongoing and future care your child will require
Most states require a medical expert witness to help prove medical malpractice. This is one reason why it is important to work with a medical malpractice attorney in your state.
Talk to a Birth Injury Attorney About Your Case
The Birth Injury Lawyers Group can connect you with a birth injury medical malpractice attorney near you. By setting up a free case review and talking to an attorney in your state, you can learn more about your legal options and get started going after the payout you need and deserve today.
Call (800) 222-9529 to get started.
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