An epidural can provide significant pain relief during childbirth and certain surgical procedures. When administered correctly, it helps block nerve signals from specific areas of the body, alleviating discomfort. However, a misplaced epidural can lead to severe complications.
Misplacement can occur when the anesthetist injects the needle into the wrong area. This error may result in a host of health issues and potentially lasting damage.
Serious health complications can arise from a misplaced epidural, including severe headaches due to a dural puncture, nerve damage or even paralysis. Severe headaches occur when the epidural needle pierces the dura mater, causing cerebrospinal fluid to leak. This can lead to a condition known as post-dural puncture headache.
If the needle damages the nerves, patients may experience persistent numbness, loss of sensation or pain in specific body parts. In severe cases, this damage can lead to motor function impairment, affecting a person’s ability to walk or move certain body parts. These physical limitations can affect quality of life, ability to work and general daily activities.
Psychological and emotional impact
A misplaced epidural can also have substantial psychological and emotional effects. Living with chronic pain or mobility issues can result in feelings of frustration, anxiety or depression. This can spill over to even affect relationships and work life, causing additional emotional distress.
Frequent medical appointments, ongoing treatment and physical therapy to manage the issues resulting from a misplaced epidural can take its toll on a family’s finances as well. Individuals might also face lost earnings if they cannot continue working or if they have to reduce their work hours due to health issues.
It is important for those who have suffered injury from a misplaced epidural to seek medical care as soon as possible to prevent their symptoms from worsening. Understanding their rights in such a situation can also help if they decide to seek compensation.