Labor and delivery can be a stressful and painful time for a mother, which is why many women choose to receive an epidural to help manage the pain. Unfortunately, when an epidural is not properly administered, it can put the baby and the mother at risk of harm. If your child or you were injured by an epidural error, it is important to seek the help of a Baltimore birth injury lawyer as soon as possible. At Arfaa Law Group, we have helped many families obtain the compensation that they need for a secure future, and we can help you as well.Holding a Health Care Provider Accountable for an Epidural Error
According to the Centers for Disease Control, approximately 61 percent of women who delivered babies vaginally had epidural or spinal injections for pain relief. Data reveals that 64 percent of women under the age of 20 received an epidural, compared with approximately 59 percent of women aged 35-39. Women aged 40 and over were the least likely to receive epidurals, at just 55.3 percent.
Epidural anesthesia is the most popular method of pain relief during childbirth. It involves a catheter being placed into the epidural space (between the epidural column and the outer membrane of the spinal cord), which allows a constant infusion (intermittently or continuously) of pain medication during labor. Unlike general anesthesia, which affects the whole body, epidural anesthesia blocks nerve impulses at the point of injection in the lower spine where it is administered. Anesthesiologists are trained to give epidurals safely. If the procedure is done incorrectly, it can cause serious injuries. Some common causes of epidural injuries due to medical mistakes include:
- Administering too much medication;
- Administering medication to which the mother is allergic;
- Administering the wrong dose of medication;
- Failing to monitor maternal or fetal distress;
- Failing to position the epidural correctly; or
- Administering an epidural to a mother who uses blood thinners or has a low platelet count.
As mentioned earlier, epidural errors can lead to serious and long-term injuries. Possible injuries to the mother include a drop in blood pressure, nerve damage, paralysis, cardiac arrest, seizures, headaches, dizziness, and even death. The unborn baby can also suffer a variety of injuries, such as brain injuries, strokes, heart and respiratory disease, and death. Fortunately, Maryland law allows victims of these errors to recover damages, such as medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, pain and suffering, disability, lost wages, and future medical expenses.
In order to recover damages, however, the plaintiff’s attorney needs to establish that medical malpractice was a cause of the injury. In the context of epidural errors, medical malpractice occurs when an anesthesiologist causes injuries or death by failing to adhere to the standard of care that a reasonably prudent anesthesiologist would have used under the same or similar circumstances. Anesthesiologists are required to give epidurals based on the four “P’s”: preparation, position, projection, and puncture. Thus, if any of these steps is not done properly, the anesthesiologist can be liable for malpractice.
In Maryland, to establish medical malpractice, the plaintiff must prove certain elements. An act of medical malpractice must have been committed by a hospital, nurse, physician, or some other medical professional. This act of medical malpractice must have been a direct cause of injury, death, disability, or pain and suffering.Seek Guidance from a Baltimore Attorney Following an Injury to a Child
If your child has been injured due to an epidural error, you should contact a medical malpractice lawyer without delay. At Arfaa Law Group, we know how to establish malpractice. We have helped many families hold negligent medical professionals accountable for the harm that they have caused. We understand that there is nothing more stressful than an injury to your child, and we will provide you with compassionate attention at every step of the way. Attorney Julia Arfaa represents people in the Baltimore area and throughout the State of Maryland. For a case evaluation, call 410-889-1850 or contact us online.