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Epidural Errors

Syracuse Lawyers for Birth Injuries Arising Out of Labor Complications

Epidurals are a type of regional anesthesia. They are often administered during pregnancies to make labor and delivery less painful. They are intended to give continuous pain relief to the lower portion of the body, while keeping the patient awake during delivery. Epidural steroid injections are also common, and they are often administered to those experiencing severe leg pain, lumbar pain, or neck pain. If you have suffered injuries during childbirth as a result of an epidural error, a seasoned Syracuse birth injury attorney can help you evaluate your legal options for recovering damages.

Epidural Errors

It is very rare for an epidural to be improperly administered, but unfortunately it happens sometimes. When a doctor makes an epidural error and the error constitutes medical negligence, it may be possible to recover damages for any injuries that resulted. There are different types of epidural errors. Among other things, anesthesiologists should check a patient’s medical history carefully before administering the procedure. When patients have certain prior conditions, an epidural can be dangerous.

Epidural injuries that could be the result of error include infections, nerve damage, dural puncture, and epidural abscesses. A dural puncture occurs where an anesthesiologist’s injection punctures the outer layer of the spinal cord, and the result is a leak that can cause a lasting headache and have fatal consequences if left untreated. Nerve damage can be the result of mistakes made while administering the epidural needle, and the effects can include lifelong pain. Causes of pain around the injection site can include infarction of the spinal cord, neuropathy, partial or complete paralysis, and other problems.

Epidural errors may affect not only mothers receiving an epidural or other types of patients, but also the unborn baby. An unborn baby can suffer injuries heart problems, respiratory disease, brain injuries, or even death as a result of a mistake involving an epidural.

In order to recover damages for injuries suffered in this context, you will need to show that the epidural error constituted medical malpractice, usually on the part of the anesthesiologist.

Proving Medical Malpractice for an Epidural Error

In order to recover damages for an epidural error, you’ll need to establish the elements of medical malpractice, and an attorney skilled in proving negligence by health care providers can help. An anesthesiologist who causes injuries or death by not adhering to the standard of care that a reasonably prudent anesthesiologist would have followed given the same conditions may be held accountable. As an injured patient, you’ll need to show it’s more likely than not: (1) you were a patient under the health care provider’s care at the time of the epidural error, (2) the health care provider owed you a duty of care, (3) the health care provider breached the applicable duty of care, (4) you suffered a serious injury because of negligent epidural error, and (5) damages. In order to be held liable, the health care provider who administered the epidural needs to have deviated from the accepted standards and practices that are applicable for that procedure.

While anesthesiologists are trained to administer epidurals safely, mistakes can happen and deviations from the professional standard of care do occur. These mistakes can include providing too much medication, providing the wrong medication, failing to position the epidural correctly, going in too deep with an epidural, failing to monitor maternal distress, administering the epidural to a patient who is on blood thinners or a medical history that suggests blood thinners are inappropriate, or administering medication to which the patient is allergic.


You may be able to recover compensatory damages in a lawsuit arising from an epidural error. These are damages intended to put you back in the position you would have been in had your injury not occurred. Amounts you may be able to obtain through a medical malpractice lawsuit can include past and future medical expenses, lost wages, the cost of long-term care, and pain and suffering.

Consult a Dedicated Medical Malpractice Attorney in Syracuse

If you suffered harm due to an epidural error in Syracuse, a seasoned medical negligence lawyer can assess whether you have a cause of action. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano, we represent clients in medical malpractice lawsuits in Syracuse, Rochester, and throughout Upstate New York, including in communities such as Cooperstown, Ithaca, Canandaigua, Auburn, Lyons, Elmira, Wampsville, Herkimer, Binghamton, Utica, Oneida, Oswego, Watertown, and Lowville. Please call us at 833-200-2000 or contact us via our online form.

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