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Albany Epidural Malpractice Lawyer
According to a 2018 study, more than 70% of pregnant women used an epidural during childbirth. An epidural is a method of pain relief that allows women to remain conscious during both vaginal and Cesarean births. It’s not just pregnant women who get epidurals. Epidural steroid injections are commonly used to treat chronic back pain or pain after surgery. As with any medical procedure, complications can and do happen. When medical malpractice or negligence causes these complications, you have legal options available. At Bailey, Johnson, & Peck, our epidural malpractice lawyers can help you pursue the financial compensation you deserve.
As a personal injury law firm in Albany, NY, the medical malpractice attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & Peck have a comprehensive knowledge of the New York legal system. Our law firm dedicates the necessary resources to generate the best possible outcome in your medical malpractice case. Call us today at 518-456-0082 to schedule a free consultation.
Epidurals: How Do They Work?
Many expectant mothers don’t think twice about receiving an epidural. Fear of the epidural needle is outweighed by the prospect of pain relief. But how do they work? Epidural injections are delivered via a needle into the epidural space around the spinal cord. Injecting a local anesthetic in the epidural space of the spine can relieve pain in the lower half of the body. The spinal cord carries nerve impulses from parts of your body to your brain. When this communication is halted by an anesthetic, the patient feels no pain in the lower half of the body. This method of anesthetic is popular with laboring mothers because it allows them to stay conscious during childbirth. If the vaginal labor has to morph into a Cesarean section, the epidural allows the mother to stay awake and avoid being put under general anesthesia.
Epidural Delivery Methods
Epidural injections can be given to patients in a few different ways. For laboring mothers, epidurals with a catheter and a combined spinal-epidural (CSE) are the most common methods used by medical professionals.
Patients who receive an epidural for non-labor-related pain relief usually involve a steroid injection into the epidural area of the spine. This method of pain relief can help patients with chronic back pain. Epidurals are often used for surgery in conjunction with general anesthesia as well.
Laboring mothers often choose to receive an epidural with a catheter. An epidural with a catheter allows doctors to continually administer anesthesia during labor. The epidural blocks all pain signals from the hips, pelvis, and legs, but still allows the contractions to happen naturally. A CSE is a combination of a spinal block and an epidural. A CSE provides more immediate pain relief than an epidural alone would.
Can Epidurals Fail?
While most epidural injections work the way intended, epidurals have a failure rate of 12%. This can be in part to misplacement, incorrect dosages, or just provider inexperience. Epidural failures may not be common, but they can pose serious risks to both the patient and any unborn children.
What Increases the Risk of Epidural Failure?
When providers ignore medical history, important information can be overlooked. Many people have a drug allergy to common anesthetics, which can mean that an epidural can result in a severe allergic reaction. Blood clotting disorders and diabetes can also increase the risk of epidural failure.
All medical procedures have risks associated with them. Even with proper use, many patients have side effects after an epidural. Some of the most common risks associated with epidurals are:
- Back pain
- Blood pressure issues
- Prolonged numbness or tingling in your lower body
Many of the risks associated with epidurals are temporary or easily managed. In severe cases, epidural errors can cause lasting injuries.
An epidural can cause severe injuries if the procedure is botched by negligent medical professionals. Misplacement and incorrect dosages can lead to severe pain and lasting consequences for the patient.
Epidural Injection Injuries
Epidurals should only ever be given by those with extensive training and experience. In 5-7% of epidural catheter placements, the anesthetic is injected into a vein. Not only will there be no pain relief, but local anesthesia in a vein can also result in local anesthetic systemic toxicity (LAST). LAST is a life-threatening condition that results in seizures, respiratory arrest, and even a coma.
The epidural needle and catheter are placed very close to the spinal cord. Any misstep can result in a spinal cord injury, which can cause excruciating pain or paralysis. The damage isn’t limited to the person receiving the epidural.
Epidural Birth Injuries
During labor, epidurals can pose a risk to the unborn baby as well. A lack of oxygen in utero can lead to life-long injuries to the child. Common examples of anesthetic-related birth injuries include:
- Cerebral palsy
- Erb’s palsy
- Brain injuries
Symptoms of Epidural Injuries
Depending on the severity of your epidural injury, it can be difficult to tell what symptoms are from a new injury and what symptoms are from recently giving birth. If you believe you are suffering from lasting injuries due to an epidural error, contact an Albany epidural injury attorney immediately. Many of the common symptoms include lasting pain at the epidural injection site, lasting headaches, and tingling in the lower body.
How Can An Epidural Malpractice Attorney Help Me?
An epidural malpractice lawyer from Bailey, Johnson & Peck can ensure that you are getting the compensation you deserve. Medical malpractice law can be tricky to navigate alone. Having an attorney-client relationship with an experienced medical malpractice lawyer means that you can focus on healing from your epidural injury.
Proving Medical Malpractice
To pursue a successful medical malpractice case, you and your legal team need to be able to prove that your injuries were caused by negligence. Under the legal theory of negligence, you have to prove four elements:
- Duty of Care–health care providers have a duty to safely and effectively treat their patients.
- Breach of Duty–the medical professional breached the duty of care through negligence, mistakes, or deliberate actions.
- Injury–The breach of duty caused an injury to the patient.
- Damages–The injury resulted in financial losses (damages).
What Evidence is Needed for an Epidural Lawsuit?
Gathering evidence can be a difficult task when you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. Medical records can be the best piece of evidence in an epidural malpractice claim. Unfortunately, medical records often don’t tell the whole story. Additional documentation, like documents showing lost income, testimonies from friends and family, and pictures of your injuries should be included in the evidence.
Medical Malpractice Certificate of Merit
In New York, medical malpractice claims are required to have a certificate of merit submitted with the claim. In an effort to combat frivolous medical malpractice suits, New York law requires at least one licensed healthcare professional to review the claim and confirm that it has validity. Our attorneys take care of this for you.
New York Statute of Limitations
The statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits in New York is 30 months. This means victims of medical malpractice have only two and a half years to bring a claim forward. If your epidural error happened during childbirth, chances are you have a newborn to take care of. Balancing a lawsuit while caring for a child can be overwhelming. At Bailey, Johnson & Peck, our Albany epidural injury attorneys can do the heavy lifting on your case while you focus on healing. We can help you meet all the legal deadlines and track down the evidence needed in your case.
Compensation in a Medical Malpractice Lawsuit
At Bailey, Johnson & Peck, our medical malpractice lawyers will fight to recover damages for:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical bills
- Lost wages
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment in life
- Funeral and burial expenses, if the injury resulted in a wrongful death
Financial compensation may not make the damage go away, but it can help you get the resources you need to recover. Compensation can prevent you and your family from accumulating a mountain of debt due to a negligent healthcare provider.
Contact Experienced Epidural Malpractice Attorneys at Bailey, Johnson & PeckYour healthcare provider is supposed to heal you. When negligence causes lasting damage, you have legal options available. At Bailey, Johnson, & Peck, our medical malpractice attorneys fight for the maximum compensation available in your case. We work as a team to provide the best outcome with excellent results. Contact an experienced epidural malpractice attorney at Bailey, Johnson & Peck for more information about our legal services. Call us at 518-456-0082 to schedule your initial consultation and get back to the life you enjoy.
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Our attorneys have extensive experience in personal injury law, including car accidents, slip-and-fall accidents, catastrophic injuries and wrongful death. If you have questions about insurance coverage and how to get the financial compensation you need, contact us today to see how we can help.
We have represented many clients on both sides of personal injury and insurance disputes. Let us use our depth of knowledge and experience to help you and your family get the medical care and financial compensation you need and deserve.