North Carolina women due to give birth may be aware that recently, the Food and Drug Administration warned that serious complications could result from epidural steroid injections. Almost immediately, the American Society of Anesthesiologists quickly refuted the agency's cautionary words and called the procedure "one of the most effective, safest and widely used forms of pain management for women in labor."
While complications from epidurals may be rare, those who suffer daily from the effects find them to be devastating. One woman had her spine punctured, causing permanent damage and severe pain, after undergoing an epidural during childbirth. Her condition is known as Arachnoiditis, and is a chronic inflammation of the arachnoid membrane surrounding her spinal cord. Her injury occurred when the needle used for the epidural punctured the membrane and triggered inflammation. Scar tissue formed as a result of the chronic inflammation and adhered to her spinal cord nerves. Her pain is severe, chronic and disabling.
Figures from the National Center for Health Statistics indicate that every year, approximately nine million epidural steroid injections are given in America. Most of those are for back pain. During childbirth, over 60 percent of women in America elect to get either an epidural, a spinal or a spinal-epidural combination of anesthesia for pain control.
Complications may not immediately be evident, which may skew the statistics reflecting the rarity of epidurals causing injuries during delivery. If a woman experiences unexplained pain that doesn't resolve or delayed healing after undergoing an epidural, she may have received a botched procedure that is going to affect her physical health negatively for many years to come.
Seeking a second opinion from a qualified medical professional may be necessary if she decides to take legal action at some future point.
Source: Nationalpainreport.com, "Anesthesiologists Say Complications from Epidurals ‘Very Rare’" Pat Anson, Jun. 12, 2014