Epidural Injuries During Labor? Here’s Who to Sue
In the event of an epidural injury during labor, victims may be able to file a malpractice lawsuit against anesthesiologists, employers, or hospitals that contributed to the injury. Normally, epidurals are administered to help make labor more comfortable, but injuries could take place if an error takes place while administering an epidural shot.
How Epidural Injuries Can Develop
The most common type of pain relief used during labor is the epidural block, which delivers anesthetic and analgesic pain relievers via a tube in the mother’s back. The purpose of an epidural is to block pain signals below the waist before they can reach the brain. Normally, this procedure is relatively safe to perform, but injuries can develop if an anesthesiologist makes an error while delivering the shot. Subsequently, injuries could develop, in some cases leading to permanent disabilities. If this occurs, it’s often possible for victims to file a medical malpractice lawsuit against negligent parties.
Types of Epidural Injuries
In cases involving the negligent delivery of an epidural, the resulting injuries can be particularly serious. This is largely because the procedure is performed near the spinal cord.
Some of the specific injuries that can develop due to an improperly administered epidural could include:
- Spinal epidural abscesses — These are infections of the spinal cord that can develop between the bones of the spine and the outer covering around the spinal cord.
- Permanent damage to the nerves — If the catheter or needle makes contact with the spinal cord, it could cause damage via an infection, the wrong medication, or bleeding. The resulting damage can be temporary or permanent, as victims lose sensation below the waist.
Additionally, injuries could include decreased bone density, spinal cord injuries, respiratory arrest, neuropathy, and even death.
Who Is Liable for an Epidural Injury?
If epidural injuries take place, multiple parties may be liable for the damages. Injury victims may be able to sue either the medical professional who administered the epidural, the anesthesiologist’s employer, or the hospital. In most cases, if the individual responsible is a hospital employee, the hospital would be liable for any epidural injuries, birth injuries, or others sustained.
Usually, epidural shots are properly administered with no lasting effects, but injury victims may be able to sue medical professionals or hospitals if an injury develops that was otherwise avoidable.