An epidural can damage your spine in cases when it is administered improperly, or there are accidents that occur during the administration. While the research is not clear about how often this occurs, it does happen, and this type of incident may support a medical malpractice case depending on the circumstances that led to the injury.
Epidurals are generally effective methods for alleviating pain during labor and delivery, but they come with risks to both the mother and the baby. One of these risks is the possibility of damage to the spine. Epidurals are dangerous because of where the needle must go and the proximity of this space to the spinal cord.
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Epidurals Are Administered Very Close to the Spine
Epidural anesthesia is a type of nerve block that serves to anesthetize the lower part of a woman’s body during labor and delivery, providing effective and relatively safe pain relief. Because of how this regional anesthesia works, it needs to be administered via a long needle and catheter inserted in a specific area of the lower back near the spinal cord. During labor, the catheter remains in place to allow the anesthesiologist to administer more medication as necessary.
The placement of the epidural is key in an effective nerve block and is also important in ensuring the mother does not suffer any preventable spinal cord injuries. Insertion must be done very carefully, with the mother sitting up or lying on her side very still. If the needle goes in too deep or into the wrong area, the mother could suffer devastating injuries.
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Anecdotal Evidence Indicates Spinal Injuries Occur Regularly
There is plenty of anecdotal evidence that an epidural can damage your spine, although there is not a wealth of statistics, research, or case studies available on this topic. Birth injury lawyers prove these injuries on a regular basis with support from medical records and the help of doctors who provide expert witness testimony. These medical malpractice cases may allow the injured mother and her family to recover compensation based on their documented losses.
There are only a few published reports of epidural-related spinal cord injuries in laboring mothers in peer-reviewed literature. However, the Journal of the Anesthesia Patient Safety Foundation (APSF) shows that this type of injury is possible when administering epidural steroid injections, which also require inserting a needle into the epidural space.
If, for example, the mother moves during the procedure, and the needle penetrates the spine, it could lead to a spinal cord injury.
A slip of the anesthesiologist’s hand, an inexperienced practitioner inserting the needle too deep, or other accidents could cause similar injuries.
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Spinal Cord Damage May Support an Epidural Birth Injury Case
There are a number of risks associated with epidural nerve blocks given during labor. This may include spine damage and long-term impairment in the mother, as well as a variety of birth injuries in the baby. If you experienced this type of injury, you may have a case against the doctor, hospital, or another medical professional.
To learn more, you can speak with a birth injury attorney who is familiar with epidural injury cases and the medical malpractice laws in your state. You will need to work closely with an attorney to identify a medical expert witness who will review your medical records and other facts of your case and agree that medical negligence occurred. Their testimony will help prove your claim or court case and is likely also required before you can continue with a medical malpractice lawsuit under your state’s birth injury laws.
Each state has its own deadlines for medical malpractice claims, and it will be imperative that you meet the statute of limitations and adhere to the other rules that apply. Working with a lawyer in your state will ensure you are aware of the applicable laws.
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Get Help With Your Epidural Birth Injury Malpractice Case Today
If you suffered spinal damage after receiving an epidural during childbirth, you may be able to build a case and hold a doctor or facility liable for their role in your injury. The Birth Injury Lawyers Group is standing by to discuss your case with you today. We can help you understand if you were the victim of medical malpractice and the steps you may need to take to hold the liable parties accountable.
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