Arizona residents who are expecting a child may be interested to learn that there are risks associated with epidurals. In some cases, these risks can potentially lead to birth defects in addition to risks for the mother.
An epidural is a regional anesthesia that is administered in the back to block lower-body pain. It involves administering medicine through a small catheter that is placed in the spinal cord area. The catheter remains in the spinal cord area to continuously or intermittently disperse the medication. The risks that can occur to the mother include nerve damage, back pain, lower blood pressure and spinal membrane injuries. In some cases, the mother may suffer bouts of dizziness, seizures and breathing problems. The infant may suffer from lack of oxygen, which may lead to cerebral palsy and other cognitive disorders.
Because the medication must be administered near the spinal cord, it is important that the epidural be administered by a professional who has been properly trained. Epidural mistakes can include injecting the medication into the wrong area, administering the medication too soon and administering too much medication. Once the epidural has been administered, there is also a risk of maternal or fetal distress.
When an injury occurs during birth, the mother or infant can potentially be left with permanent disabilities. A medical malpractice attorney may help the injured person file a lawsuit against the health care professional who administered the epidural or who failed to monitor for maternal or fetal distress. Depending on the severity of the injuries, the victim may seek compensation for medical costs and punitive damages. If the infant will be unable to care for themselves in the future, the attorney may seek compensation that will allow the parents to provide full-time care for their disabled child.