Medical Malpractice Law: Epidural Lawsuit

Epidural lawsuit

Epidural steroid injections (ESI’s) are a relatively common procedure most commonly administered to hospital patients who are experiencing severe pain in their legs, lumbar region, back or neck. The purpose of the epidural injection is to temporarily relieve pain; in most cases the injection is handled with care and pain is relieved. Minor side effects include headaches, facial flushing, anxiety and sleeplessness that typically resolve within 24 hours.

Epidural lawsuit

In rare cases an epidural is administered in a negligent manner. For example, if a doctor fails to consider the patient’s history of a bleeding disorder and the patient bleeds dangerously after the injection the patient may have a case for epidural malpractice. An epidural malpractice lawyer may be able to fight for justice on the patient’s behalf through an epidural lawsuit.

Serious but rare epidural injuries include:

  • Infections
  • Dural puncture, also called a “wet tap.” When the injection punctures the outer membrane covering the spinal cord and causes a leak. Symptoms include a “spinal headache” that may last several days. A blood patch may be necessary to allow the epidural space to clot around the spinal sac and stop the leak.
  • Most common in patients with bleeding disorders.
  • Nerve damage. Can be caused by trauma from wrongful administration of the epidural needle, infection or bleeding; can result in a lifetime of pain.
  • Epidural abscess. An infection between the outer covering of the brain and spinal cord and the bones of the skull or spine.
  • Increased level of pain in and around the injection site
  • Partial or complete paralysis
  • Respiratory arrest
  • Decreased bone density
  • Infarction of the spinal cord
  • Neuropathy

How is negligence proved in an epidural injection lawsuit?

A medical malpractice lawyer must prove the following points in an epidural injection lawsuit:

  • That the patient was under the care of the medical professional at the time of the injury which created a “duty of care” to the patient.
  • That the “duty of care” was breached through a violation of the standard of care expected by the medical community under similar circumstances.
  • That serious injury (damages) was suffered by the patient as a direct result of the negligent care.

In an epidural injection injury case, the patient must have been under the care of the medical professional who administered the injection and the care provider must have deviated from the accepted standard of care for epidurals. For example, the accepted standard of epidural needle penetration is 1.75 inches into the tissue; if the medical professional penetrated the tissue past 2 inches and caused permanent nerve damage or other serious injuries, the victim may have a case for medical malpractice.

Epidural lawsuit damages

Each medical malpractice case is different and therefore the range of compensation varies widely. Factors that will affect settlement include:

  • The severity and nature of the injuries
  • Medical / rehabilitation expenses and whether the patient will be able to make a full recovery or will require ongoing care and treatment
  • The extent of economic loss including loss of work for recovery and future lost income potential
  • A monetary calculation for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering, emotional distress/trauma, loss of enjoyment of life, etc.

The Seattle personal injury attorneys at Morrow Kidman Tinker Macey-Cushman, PLLC have years of experience representing families harmed by medical malpractice. We seek justice for patients who have been harmed by preventable medical errors including birth injuries, hospital-acquired infections and wrongful death in Seattle and across Washington State. There are no fees or expenses to file a personal injury case as we only receive payment if we recover damages on your behalf. Do not delay; personal injury claims come with a Statute of Limitations, which means they must be filed within a certain time frame of the injury.

Call us now at (206) 752-4366 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation with one of our compassionate, experienced attorneys.