An estimated 50% of pregnant women opt to use an epidural injection during childbirth to reduce pain and discomfort. It is used in both vaginal and C-section births, allowing the mother to stay conscious during the procedure. When used correctly, the risk to both the child and mother are very low. However, when the anesthesiologist makes a mistake or error when using this common pain blocker, it can cause serious injury to not only the mother, but also to the child that is waiting to be born.
How An Epidural Works
An epidural is a form of anesthesia that blocks pain in one region of the body. Unlike general anesthesia that effects the entire body, an epidural is an injection that is given in the lower spine to only provide pain relief in the lower half of the body. The epidural blocks nerve impulses at the point of the injection, reducing the pain of labor for the mother. It is commonly used for pain, especially in long or difficult labors to help the mother rest and relax.
Anesthesiologists are trained to safely give epidurals based on the four “P’s” These are preparation, position, projection and puncture, all of which must be followed correctly to avoid injury to the mother and her unborn child. Mistakes can happen when the mother is given the wrong dose, is not properly monitored, positioned incorrectly or the needle is inserted wrong. The injuries to the mother from an epidural error can cause:
- Drop in blood pressure
- Nerve damage
- Cardiac arrest
Epidural Errors Effect On Newborns
When a pregnant mother is subjected to the wrong dosage or not correctly monitored after an epidural, it can great risk to both her and her child. A woman that experiences low blood pressure, cardiac arrest, seizures or other medical emergencies while giving birth cannot give the child inside her the oxygen that it needs, putting both the mother and child at risk. If the child can not be removed vaginally in time, then an emergency C-section would need to be performed. The largest concern is lack of oxygen to the unborn child.
Lack of oxygen during childbirth can cause severe injuries to the child. Once the body and brain are deprived of oxygen, damage begins to occur. The results of prolonged lack of oxygen to the unborn infant can include:
Unfortunately, if the epidural error causes major medical issues with the mother, the child will be in danger. The medical team then is fighting time to save both. Performing an emergency C-section when the mother has dangerously low blood pressure or is undergoing cardiac arrest may not be an option. It is a horrible situation that may end in the loss of mother, child or both.
Epidural Error Lawsuits
Nothing can turn what should be the happiest day in a family’s life into heart break faster than the injury or death of a child during birth. When it is caused by a preventable mistake such as an epidural error, it is unbearable. We understand the difficulty that such a loss or injury can have on your family, not only emotionally, but in injury cases, financially as well. At Rosenfeld Injury Lawyers, we have represented many families like yours who have been the victim of medical malpractice. We are experts at handling these difficult and complex cases and offer to discuss your case with you free of charge. Our firm never charges a fee for our services in these types of cases unless we are able to make a financial recovery for you. Contact us today for a free consultation.
Epidural Administration & Risk Information