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Anesthesia Errors

Anesthesia Errors During Labor And Delivery

Anesthesia, if administered properly, can help a mother have a more enjoyable childbirth experience by eliminating a great deal of pain associated with labor and delivery. However, when an anesthesiologist makes a mistake what was intended to offer pain relief can cause substantially more problems, including paralysis, heart attack, stroke or even death.

Although common in many surgeries, few mothers in labor, if any, will undergo general anesthesia. The majority of women who receive anesthesia during childbirth will receive a regional or local anesthetic, most commonly an epidural. The lower part of the body can be numbed to varying degrees through the use of an epidural, depending on whether childbirth will be through a vaginal delivery or Caesarian (c-section).

When An Anesthesia Error May Be Medical Malpractice

As with any medical procedure, anesthesia and child birth involve some risk. Your anesthesiologist must determine the appropriate dosage of medication that will provide pain relief without causing unnecessary risk to you or your unborn baby. He or she must properly administer the anesthesia to avoid preventable injuries associated with epidural injections and must monitor both you and your baby for changes caused by the use of anesthesia during childbirth.

Side effects associated with anesthesia use during childbirth include:

For Mom:

  • Shivering, nausea, vomiting
  • Prolonged labor
  • Backache
  • Headache
  • Septic meningitis
  • Incontinence
  • Heart attack
  • Death

For Baby:

  • Drug toxicity
  • Abnormal fetal heart rate
  • Poor muscle tone and strength in first few hours
  • Jaundice
  • Hyperactivity up to age 7
  • Poor sucking reflex

Typically, you will not meet your anesthesiologist until you arrive at the hospital in labor or for your scheduled C-section. Unlike your obstetrician whom you have likely had several visits with during your pregnancy, your anesthesiologist may not be familiar with your medical history. This can lead to problems with adverse reactions to anesthesia or dangerous drug interactions.

Has An Anesthesia Error Caused Lasting Injury?

While the effects of anesthesia will wear off over time, the effects of an anesthesia error can have a lifelong impact. If you suffered permanent injury, such as paralysis, or if an anesthesia error resulted in death, you may have a right to compensation. That's where The Birth Injury Team comes in. Our Philadelphia lawyers are here to advise you of your rights when medical malpractice during childbirth causes lasting damage.

The Birth Injury Team is a subsidiary of Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., made up of experienced attorneys and medical professionals. Our lawyers have more than 100 years of combined experience handling birth injury cases. We are dedicated to helping parents understand their child's condition and guiding them through the process of securing the care and support they need. Located in Philadelphia, we serve clients across the United States.


Located in Philadelphia, Silvers, Langsam & Weitzman, P.C., home of MyPhillyLawyer, serves clients in Philadelphia County, Pennsylvania, and throughout the United States.

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