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What injuries can be caused by epidurals?

Epidurals can be a great relief to mothers who are going through the painful birthing process. Injected by a long syringe into the lower area of the back, the anesthetic essentially numbs the lower part of the body. It is administered through a thin catheter, which allows the medication to flow continuously if needed. At Wilson & Parlett, we understand that although epidurals can be extremely helpful, they can also cause serious injuries if given incorrectly. In some cases, epidurals can cause long-term and potentially permanent injuries that could have a major impact on a person’s life.

There are both maternal and infant risks associated with epidurals. If the anesthesiologist administers too much medication or inserts the needle into the wrong area of back, there is the possibility that problems can occur. Furthermore, failure to give the medication during the right time of the birthing process or failure to properly monitor the mother or infant’s vitals is also dangerous.

If these errors should occur, the mother may experience breathing problems, dizziness, nerve damage, low blood pressure and injuries to the spinal membrane. There is also a higher risk that the obstetrician will need to use forceps or use vacuum extraction during the delivery. This in and of itself can have a negative impact on the newly born infant.

Infants may suffer from serious brain injuries, stroke, poor muscle tone and coma in response to improperly administered epidurals. Infants may have a lack of oxygen, which may lead to cerebral palsy and other cognitive disorders.

To learn more about birth injuries, visit our page on medical negligence. 

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