Epidural Birth Injuries
New Jersey Epidural Error Lawyers Representing Mothers and Infants
An epidural, otherwise known as epidural anesthesia, is an intravenously-administered localized anesthetic used to block pain in the lower part of the body. Epidurals are extraordinarily popular among women undergoing labor and delivery. Many sources estimate that over half of pregnant women in the U.S. rely on epidurals for pain management during birth, which translates to millions upon millions of women each year. While administration of epidural anesthesia occurs on daily basis in hospitals and medical centers across the county, epidural use is not without risk. A properly administered and managed epidural during delivery can reduce pain and facilitate the process of childbirth. And yet, errors with this highly potent form of anesthesia can result in severe injuries to the mother or the newborn.
If you or your child suffered harm during birth and you believe that mistakes with an epidural played a role, you should consult with an attorney about the potential for filing a legal claim. Our team is highly experienced in litigating birth injury lawsuits on behalf of mothers and children throughout New Jersey. Call (866)-708-8617 to speak with a lawyer who can help determine if you have a claim against one or more members of your medical team.
Epidural: The Basics
An epidural may be used during either vaginal or C-section delivery to reduce the amount of pain that the mother experiences. Epidurals involve a medical professional inserting a long needle into your spinal area at a specific point during labor. This needle then administers a local anesthetic like lidocaine, chloroprocaine, or bupivacaine. Local anesthetics like these can reduce pain by blocking some nerve signals in the lower body, but they allow the mother to remain awake during labor and delivery. Essentially, the purpose of the epidural is to reduce pain, not to render the mother unconscious or prevent all feeling and sensation in the lower half of the body. Such drugs may also be administered in conjunction with narcotics or opioids to reduce the required dose of local anesthetics and to provide further pain relief.
Risks of Having an Epidural
While very popular, there are risks to using an epidural. Possible complications from epidurals can affect both the mother and the infant, although these categories of risks are not independent of one another. If the mother suffers an adverse reaction to the epidural, it can cause problems that carry over to the infant. For example, if the dose of anesthetics administered through the epidural is off, or if some other type of medical mistake complicates the process, the mother may suffer from dizziness, seizures, nerve damage, breathing problems, back pain, low blood pressure, and other issues. Paralysis is a rare, yet possible complication that may result from an improperly inserted epidural needle. Anesthesiologists must also be aware of any allergies to medication or medical conditions that the mother may have, as an adverse or allergic reaction to an epidural can lead to severe complications.
How Epidurals Can Lead to Birth Injuries
Medical error in the administration of an epidural can also cause birth injuries and medical issues for the newborn. For example, if the mother suffers from one or more of the adverse reactions discussed above, those complications can increase the risk that the child will experience a reduction in oxygen supply. If an infant is in distress due to oxygen deprivation, the medical team will need to perform an expedited delivery, often through emergency cesarean section, in order to prevent further harm to the baby.
If use of the epidural reduces the amount of oxygen that flows to the infant, the child can sustain serious brain damage and other birth injuries. Epidurals can potentially increase the risk of infant stroke, lead to poor muscle tone, coma, and difficulty breastfeeding, among other potential problems. Lack of oxygen during birth is among the chief causes of cerebral palsy and other neurological conditions that affect a child for the remainder of his or her life.
Have You been a Victim of Epidural Anesthesia Malpractice in NJ?
Obviously, the risks and complications explained above do not occur in every, or even most, epidural procedures. When performed correctly, an epidural can assist with a prolonged or stressful labor and reduce the strain on the mother during a vaginal or C-section birth. However, mistakes with epidural anesthesia can have dire consequences for you or your child. If you suspect epidural-related medical malpractice gave rise to your injuries or those of your baby, get the answers you need to seek justice and hold those responsible accountable for the pain and suffering they caused. Contact our epidural negligence lawyers today at (866)-708-8617 for a free consultation. With several convenient office locations, we represent clients throughout New Jersey.
Related Information & Resources:
- Using Epidural Anesthesia During Labor, American Pregnancy
- Nerve damage associated with a spinal or epidural injection, Royal College of Anesthetists