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Errors With Epidural injections

Epidural Injection Mistakes

According to the American Pregnancy Association, more than 50 percent of expecting mothers request and receive an epidural during childbirth. An epidural is a regional or local anesthetic, meaning that it blocks pain to a specific part of the body, and is typically administered by an anesthesiologist or nurse anesthetist.

Epidural-Related Side Effects

Epidurals come with certain risks and known potential side effects, all of which could be worsened by a mistake made by your anesthesiologist; the successful use of an epidural during childbirth largely depends on the skill of your anesthesiologist.

Starting an epidural involves inserting a needle and catheter into the spinal column in the lower back. A mistake by the medical professional starting the epidural can lead to complications, severe injury or even the death of an expecting mother. An epidural should not puncture the spinal sac; if it does, paralysis may result.

Unlike your obstetrician, whom you have been having regular conversations with throughout your pregnancy, the anesthesiologist called in for your delivery may or may not know all the ins and outs of your specific health situation. You should carefully consider the risks and benefits of epidural anesthesiology during childbirth and discuss any questions and concerns with your physician prior to going into labor.

On the positive side, an epidural may:

  • Allow a mother an opportunity to rest during a prolonged labor
  • Improve the 'birth experience' for a mother by lessening associated pain
  • Allow a mother who is delivering via C-section to remain alert during birth
  • Avoid birth trauma to the mother such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

On what can be considered the negative side, the risks and known potential side effects of an epidural include:

  • A sudden drop in blood pressure. Your blood pressure should be consistently monitored to avoid injury to your baby's or your own health.
  • A severe headache. This is relatively uncommon, occurring in less than 1 percent of women who receive and epidural, but is caused by a loss of spinal fluid.
  • A slowed labor. You should be advised to shift regularly after the epidural is started. Staying on one side or in one position can slow or evens stop labor progression.
  • Numbness in the lower half of your body. This may last for a few hours after childbirth and you may require assistance to walk while the anesthesia wears off.

The use of an epidural can make pushing during labor and delivery difficult, requiring the use of labor-inducing drugs such as Pitocin, medical equipment such as a vacuum extractor or forceps or necessitate a C-section. Epidurals have been linked with trouble 'latching on' during breastfeeding, slowed movement of the baby in getting into proper position prior to birth, slowed breathing and slowed fetal heart rate.

Did An Epidural Lead To Injury To You Or Your Newborn?

Whether you have opted for an epidural or have chosen a natural childbirth, there are both risks and benefits to both that should be fully discussed with your obstetrician prior to delivery. If an anesthesiologist's error in dosing, inserting or administering your epidural causes injury to you or your baby, you may have a right to compensation. Contact The Birth Injury Team online to schedule a free appointment to discuss your legal options.

The Birth Injury Team is a subsidiary of Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., made up of experienced attorneys and medical professionals. Our lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience handling birth injury cases. We are dedicated to helping parents understand their child's condition and guiding them through the process of securing the care and support they need. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients across the United States.


Located in Philadelphia, Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., home of MyPhillyLawyer, serves clients in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States.

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