Epidural anesthesia, commonly known as an epidural, provides labor pain management for millions of women each year in Michigan and throughout the United States. Its popularity, however, does not negate its risks. As with many other types of anesthesia or medical procedures, epidurals might lead to complications.

If you or your infant suffered a epidural injury during delivery in Michigan, a compassionate lawyer is here to help. An attorney at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. could work to investigate the unique details of your injury and determine if you have a valid claim against a medical provider on the basis of negligence.

Types of Epidural Injuries During Birth

An epidural is the placement of regional anesthesia through a thin catheter inserted with a needle into the spinal cord area. Here, the numbing medication can disperse continuously or intermittently to provide pain relief. While epidurals provide one of the most effective forms of pain relief for laboring women, there are risks to both the mother and the fetus once the epidural is in place. Maternal risks that could lead to an epidural injury in Michigan include:

  • Seizures and dizziness
  • Infections
  • Spinal membrane injuries
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Nerve damage
  • Heightened risk of vacuum extraction or forceps use for delivery
  • Low blood pressure

Fetal risks associated with epidural use:

  • Difficulties with breastfeeding
  • Lack of oxygen
  • Brain injuries
  • Infant stroke
  • Coma
  • Low Apgar scores
  • Poor muscle tone

Mistakes With Epidural Anesthesia

Epidurals are generally considered safe for most mothers. Unfortunately, mistakes in the handling of epidurals by medical professionals can cause severe complications. For example, a patient could be given too much medication or a medication they are allergic to, or they could have the medication injected into the wrong area.

Furthermore, a laboring mother might receive an epidural too soon in the labor process, or be given anesthesia when it is contraindicated—such as for a mother who takes blood thinners. When this happens, a doctor or nurse might be considered legally negligent and be held liable to provide compensation to an injured mother.

The Need for an Affidavit of Merit

Under Michigan Compiled Laws § 600.2169, an affidavit of merit must be submitted by an attorney when a Michigan epidural injury case is filed. To do this, the lawyer must consult with a qualified healthcare professional who is licensed and practicing or teaching in the same medical specialty as the named defendant. Additionally, they must have the same board certifications as the medical professional on trial.

To be valid, the affidavit of merit must be signed and include multiple pieces of information. This includes:

  • The standard of care that applies to the specifics of the case
  • That the defendant breached the applicable standard of care
  • That the defendant could have avoided the breach by taking alternate actions
  • That the breach caused the plaintiff’s injuries

Without a signed affidavit of merit, a judge can refuse the case and have it removed from the court. Because of this, hiring a skillful and persistent lawyer who could work diligently to obtain this affidavit of merit might be essential.

Hire an Attorney After Suffering a Michigan Epidural Injury During Delivery

It is the duty of a healthcare provider to inform you of the risks and benefits of undergoing epidural anesthesia during childbirth. Furthermore, they must perform to the expected standard of care so as not to increase the risk of an injury during your delivery.

However, if you feel as though a doctor, nurse, or other medical professional was negligent and caused you to suffer a epidural injury in Michigan, you have legal rights and should consider reaching out to a lawyer at Buckfire & Buckfire, P.C. for help.

In fact, even signing an informed consent does not bar you from requesting compensation against an at-fault medical professional. However, because of the nuanced legal steps required to file a lawsuit, the aid of a seasoned attorney could prove to be essential. To learn more, schedule a consultation with a legal professional today.

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