Epidural Failure During C-Section Lawsuit

Did you or a family member suffer from an epidural failure during a C-section? Problems with epidurals during labor and delivery can be traumatic and result in severe injury to both mother and child.

Working with Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers is the first step towards getting compensation for your family’s pain. We’ll work with you to assess your case and the circumstances surrounding it and advise you on all available legal options.

Our attorneys understand epidural failure cases and will take on every aspect of your claim, ensuring that your needs are met and that you receive compensation for your suffering. 

Epidural Failure During A C-Section Lawsuit

Epidural Lawsuit Cases: What To Know

An epidural anesthesia failure during a C-section can be extremely harmful and dangerous for both mother and child.

While epidurals are typically considered safe, multiple factors may lead to an epidural failure during a cesarean section. 

For example, improper placement of the epidural catheter can lead to incomplete anesthesia and therefore inadequate pain relief. 

In some medical malpractice cases, the medication may not reach the intended nerves due to blockages or anatomical variations. 

Individual differences in pain perception and metabolism can also affect the efficacy of the epidural anesthesia.

Sometimes, epidural failure can occur due to equipment malfunction or human error during administration.

When an epidural fails during a c-section, alternative pain management methods such as general anesthesia or supplemental medications may be required to ensure the patient’s comfort and safety.

Epidural Lawsuit Cases

Our Experience With Epidural Failure During C Section Lawsuits

We’re a Chicago-based law firm specializing in medical malpractice lawsuits with extensive experience representing clients in cases involving epidural failures during C-sections.

We have successfully litigated numerous cases where patients suffered harm due to epidural failures, securing compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering. 

Our expertise in this area often involves collaborating with medical experts to uncover medical negligence and advocate for their clients’ rights. 

We focus on clients in Chicago, Illinois, and the surrounding areas – contact us today for a free consultation.

Some examples of medical malpractice cases the Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers helped resolve a medical malpractice lawsuit for $950,000 in connection with a negligently performed laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

How Do Epidurals Work During A C-Section?

During a C-section, an epidural is administered into the epidural space of the spine (spinal anesthesia), numbing the lower half of the body. 

This pain relief is achieved by delivering a combination of local anesthetics and opioids through a catheter inserted into the epidural space.

The medication blocks nerve signals from the abdomen and lower extremities, alleviating pain during the surgical procedure. 

Anesthesiologists monitor the dosage and anesthetic management to ensure the right level of anesthesia is maintained throughout the surgery.

In general, epidurals are commonly used during C-sections because they offer effective pain management while allowing the mother to remain conscious and alert during the birth of her unborn baby.

However an epidural error, botched epidural, or an anesthesia overdose during a C-section can be devastating for both the mother and child. 

Common C-Section Epidural Risks 

While epidurals are generally safe, there are potential risks or risk factors associated with their use during a C-section:

  • Low Blood Pressure (Maternal Hypotension). Epidural errors can cause a drop in blood pressure, which may require intervention to stabilize. This is especially common during C-sections due to the anesthesia affecting the nerves that regulate blood pressure.

  • Headaches. Occasionally, an epidural can cause a post-dural puncture headache, which occurs when the epidural needle accidentally punctures the membrane surrounding the spinal cord. This can lead to leakage of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and subsequent headaches that worsen when sitting or standing.

  • Nerve Damage. Nerve damage can occur if the epidural needle injures a nerve in the spine. This can lead to temporary or, in very rare medical malpractice cases, permanent numbness, weakness, or pain in the lower body.

  • Difficulty Urinating. Epidural errors can interfere with the ability to urinate normally, leading to temporary urinary retention. Catheterization may be required until normal bladder function returns.

  • Itching and Nausea. Some women may experience itching or nausea as side effects of the medications used in the epidural.

  • Infection. There is a risk of infection at the site at the epidural injection or along the catheter.

  • Allergic Reaction. While rare, some individuals may have allergic reactions to the medications used in the epidural.

Causes Of Epidural Failure During A C-Section

Epidural errors during a C-section can be extremely traumatic for both mother and child. Some causes include (but are not limited to):

  • Improper Needle Placement. If the epidural placement is not positioned correctly in the epidural space, the medication may not adequately numb the lower body. This can result in incomplete pain relief or anesthesia failure.

  • Catheter Migration. Sometimes, the epidural catheter may move out of the epidural space after placement, leading to uneven distribution of medication or loss of anesthesia effectiveness.

  • Block Height. The spread of the local anesthetic may not reach the necessary height in the spinal cord to provide complete pain relief for the surgical incision during a C-section. This could occur due to factors such as patient positioning, dose adjustment, or individual anatomical variations.

  • Technical Issues. Equipment malfunction or issues with the epidural infusion pump can also lead to epidural errors during a C-section.

  • Obesity. In obese patients, it may be more challenging to accurately place the epidural needle and catheter, potentially increasing the risk of epidural error.

  • Scar Tissue. Previous spinal surgeries or spinal deformities can create scar tissue that may interfere with the proper placement of the epidural needle or catheter.

  • Anatomical Variations. Variations in spinal anatomy, such as abnormal curvature of the spine or spinal stenosis, can make it more difficult to achieve effective epidural anesthesia.

  • Patient Factors. Individual variations in response to anesthesia, such as increased tolerance or decreased sensitivity to local anesthetics, can contribute to epidural error.

In the event of epidural error during a C-section, the anesthesia team will typically assess the situation and adjust the anesthesia plan accordingly to protect the mother and child and adhere to the standard of case. 

These adjustments could involve administering additional medication, converting to a different anesthesia technique, or proceeding with general anesthesia if necessary to ensure the safety and comfort of the patient(s).

Potential Epidural Complications For The Mother During A C-Section Birth

When epidurals fail during childbirth, certain pregnancy complications or severe complications can arise for the mother, including:

  • Increased Pain And Distress. Inadequate pain relief can lead to heightened discomfort and distress for the mother during labor and delivery, potentially impacting her emotional well-being and ability to cope with the birthing process.

  • Stress And Anxiety. Experiencing uncontrolled pain or unexpected complications increase stress and anxiety levels, which may hinder the progress of labor and increase the risk of complications.

  • Nerve Damage. Nerve damage (from slight numbness or tingling in the lower limbs to full-blown paralysis) can be long-term consequences of epidural errors. Bladder issues, post-spinal headaches, brain injuries, and other issues can also arise.

  • Hypertension And Tachycardia. In some cases, uncontrolled pain or stress during labor can lead to physiological responses such as elevated blood pressure (hypertension) and rapid heart rate (tachycardia), which may pose risks to maternal health.

  • IV Cannulation. A complication that stems from the accidental injection of the anesthetic solution into the bloodstream, IV cannulation can cause the mother to twitch, have convulsions, or lose consciousness. Seizures can occur from the toxic effects of the anesthetic agent entering the bloodstream.

  • Traumatic Birth Experience or Emergency Cesarean Section. Experiencing uncontrolled pain or complications due to an epidural error can result in a traumatic birth experience for the mother, which may have long-lasting psychological effects and impact future pregnancies and childbirth experiences.

  • Postpartum Recovery Challenges. Inadequate pain relief during labor and delivery can affect the mother’s ability to rest and recover in the postpartum period, potentially prolonging the recovery process and impacting early bonding with the newborn.

Potential Epidural Complications For The Child During A C-Section Birth

When epidurals fail during C-sections, certain fetal complications can arise, including:

  • Fetal Distress. Inadequate pain relief or complications related to epidural failure can lead to maternal stress, which may impact unborn baby and result in signs of fetal distress such as abnormal heart rate patterns and the overall neonatal outcome. 

  • Decreased Fetal Oxygenation. Maternal stress or prolonged labor associated with epidural failure can lead to decreased uterine blood flow (or uterine rupture) and oxygen deprivation to the fetus, potentially resulting in fetal hypoxia or acidosis, which can have serious consequences for fetal well-being.

  • Impact On Apgar Scores. Fetal distress or complications arising from epidural error may affect the newborn’s Apgar scores, which are measures of the baby’s health and vitality at birth, potentially indicating the need for immediate medical attention or resuscitation.

  • Neonatal Complications. In some cases, fetal distress or complications during labor and delivery may result in neonatal complications such as meconium aspiration syndrome, neonatal hypoglycemia, or respiratory distress syndrome, requiring specialized medical care for the newborn.

Overall, there is a greater likelihood of birth injuries or birth trauma for both the mother and child if an epidural failure occurs during the course of a C-section birth.

Epidural Failure During A C-Section Lawsuit FAQs

Get answers to your questions about epidural error malpractice lawsuits from our birth injury attorneys & anesthesia error lawyers at Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers.

How Are Epidural Failures Proven In Malpractice Cases?

Malpractice cases that involve epidural errors during C-sections require certain evidence.

Typically, this involves demonstrating that the medical professionals involved failed to adhere to the accepted standard of care during the procedure. 

This failure is proven by an epidural malpractice lawyer via expert testimony from anesthesiologists or related specialists, medical record review to identify deviations from protocol, and the establishment of a clear causal link between the error and the resulting injury through medical analysis and documentation.

What Evidence Is Needed For A C-Section Epidural Failure Malpractice Lawsuit?

Some examples of key evidence in an epidural failure lawsuit includes medical records detailing the cesarean delivery and associated procedures, any complications, and subsequent treatment. 

Expert testimony from anesthesiologists or other relevant medical specialists is often critical for establishing the standard of care and identifying deviations.

Documentation demonstrating the link between the error and the resulting injury, such as medical evaluations and patient testimony, also strengthens the case for medical negligence and damages.

Is There A Statute Of Limitations On Epidural Failure Lawsuits In Illinois?

Yes, in Illinois, there is a statute of limitations for medical malpractice lawsuits, including those related to a C section delivery and epidural procedures. 

A malpractice lawsuit must be filed within 2 years from the date the patient knew or reasonably should have known of the injury, but no more than 4 years from the date of the alleged malpractice. 

However, there are exceptions and nuances to this rule, particularly as it relates to birth injuries, so it’s essential to consult with a qualified attorney to understand how the statute of limitations applies to a specific case.

What Kind Of Compensation Can I Expect From A Successful Epidural Failure Lawsuit?

In a successful lawsuit for epidural injuries during a cesarean section, your compensation typically covers future medical expenses related to treating the injury caused by the malpractice, including surgeries, rehabilitation, lost wages, and ongoing medical care. 

Additionally, your compensation may include reimbursement for lost income due to the injury plus damages for pain and suffering endured as a result of the malpractice.

If a birth injury was involved, further damages and future medical expenses may be awarded against a defendant doctor.

The exact amount of compensation you may receive in an epidural malpractice lawsuit is based on factors such as the severity of the injury, the impact on the patient’s life, and applicable laws in your jurisdiction.

Find Out If You Have a Epidural Failure Case In Chicago, Illinois

Did you or a loved one experience an epidural failure during a scheduled c section or emergency c section that was performed in Illinois?

If you are located in Chicago or the surrounding areas, contact the experienced medical malpractice attorneys at Chicago Medical Malpractice Lawyers for a free consultation to help you recover compensatory damages.