The purpose of an epidural steroid injection (ESI) is to control and minimize severe pain. The injection is performed with the placement of the catheter or needle in a specific location in or around the spinal canal, through which medications, such as steroids are given to the patient. The steroids act to lower nerve inflammation and reduce the pain.
Most often, an anesthesiologist with specialized training in matters of pain management performs the epidural injection procedure. These injections must be performed by a competent medical professional with the proper training, due to the close proximity to the spinal cord. Properly performed epidurals provide effective pain relief and help patients heal. However, when the injection is done improperly or administered in the wrong location, the patient can suffer serious and even permanent injuries.
Epidural injection and medical malpractice
In the majority of cases, the anesthesiologist uses a fluoroscopic x-ray image to guide the positioning of the needle to the proper location in the epidural space for the epidural steroid injection. When the patient sustains an injury due to improper positioning of the epidural needle, he or she may have a claim for medical malpractice. These cases can involve an injury to the spinal cord as a result of the injection needle passing through into the spinal cord. The spinal cord can be extensively damaged if it is penetrated by an injection. An improper positioning of the needle is almost always the cause for this injury.
Anesthesiologists use a procedure referred to as an epidurogram, in which a contrast dye is injected into the epidural space to confirm the proper needle placement for an injection. However, if the physician omits this test, and a spinal cord injury occurs, he or she may be hard-pressed to explain why the test was not performed.
When substances are injected into arteries that lead to the spinal cord, patients can have strokes. Again, it is vital for the anesthesiologist to execute proper needle placement in order to reduce the risk of these occurrences.
Seeking financial compensation for epidural injuries
Patients should not have to endure injuries resulting from an anesthesiologist’s error in the placement of an epidural injection. Spinal cord injuries and irreversible neurological consequences resulting from improper injection techniques often lead to a medical malpractice lawsuit.
If you or a loved one has suffered a spinal cord injury due to an improperly placed epidural injection, you may have the opportunity to recover significant compensation, including current and future medical expenses, and pain and suffering.
Our experienced West Tennessee medical malpractice attorneys at Bailey & Greer, PLLC, understand the devastation and potential ongoing consequences of a spinal cord injury due to an improper epidural injection. If you are the victim of such medical negligence, whether as a mother delivering a child or for other pain management reasons, we can help. We serve residents of Memphis, Jackson, and West Tennessee with compassionate and skilled advocacy. To set up a free case evaluation, please give us a call today at 901.475.7434 or drop us a message through our contact form.