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Medical Malpractice for botched epidural in Ohio?

Cleveland, OH |

14 mo ago, I was given an epidural by a anesthesia resident. Before the epidural, I had requested the anesthesiologist do the procedure but was reassured that the resident was qualified to do it. Before the procedure, everyone said how great the curvature of my back was and how it would be a seamless procedure. The resident inserted it the first time, I could feel him digging around in there, then the anesthesiologist told him to remove it, at which point he did and then repeated the process. It was just as bad the second time and the anesthesiologist had him remove it again and did it himself; this time without pain and in a matter of seconds. This was my first so I had no idea what to expect or what was normal. 14 mo later I'm still in excruciating pain and can barely carry my son.

I should add that the pain feels exactly the same as the pain that I felt when the epidural was being moved around, and is sometimes felt in my left leg. My left leg was numb for 2 days after the procedure and I could barely walk b/c of the pain for at least 3 months following the procedure. I was hoping it would go away, but now that it hasn't, I'm wondering what my options are. Most days, I find it difficult to do most things, even laying down hurts.

Attorney Answers 3

Posted

I'm not admitted in Ohio (only in CA), but can offer the following general observations.

In a malpractice case, you first must establish that the medical professional(s) acted below the standard of care. That can usually only be established through expert testimony (i.e. in your case, another anesthesiologist willing to say that the treating anesthesiologist's care fell below that standard). It may well be that permitting the resident to do the work fell below the standard, but again, you'd need another anesthesiologist in your locale to testify to that.

Secondly, you must establish that the negligence was the cause of harm. (This is called "causation.") In other words, if the condition is something that he would have had to deal with anyway, or if the condition is something that you and the anesthesiologist could have reasonably expected, the defense will say that the negligence of the anesthesiologist did nothing to make the condition you went in for worse, or at least no worse than what could have been expected as a possible outcome. That is typically where these kinds of cases falter; the plaintiff may be able to show that the professional made a mistake, but cannot overcome the argument that the mistake didn't do any additional harm.

The third point is the issue of damages. If the negligence caused you to incur additional injuries, and you had to pay for those additional medical services, or miss time from work because of it, those would be your "special damages."

I would nonetheless consult with a local attorney specializing in professional (medical) malpractice cases. Most reputable PI/malpractice lawyers will consult with you for little or no cost. Avvo is a good resource for locating such an attorney.
Good luck to you!

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Asker

Posted

Thank you for your advice. Do I need to seek out an anesthesiologist specifically, or will a neurologist or orthopedic suffice? I called the hospital today to get my records. I do feel I certainly need additional medical services but without the funds, I'm hesitant to go to just anyone.

Marc Sean Hurd

Marc Sean Hurd

Posted

My suggestion would be to consult with a med. mal. lawyer, who will be able to review all of the facts and the records, and make that determination. However, generally speaking, you need to have an expert in the same specialty as the doctor you are pursuing the claim against; i.e. if the doctor you believe committed malpractice is an anesthesiologist or a pain management specialist, you would need an expert who specializes in anesthesiology or pain management.

Posted

I'm sorry to hear about your ordeal. The only way to find out if there was malpractice at any stage here is to order all the medical records and bills from the hospital medical records office (fastest if you do it yourself), and a med mal lawyer will send the records to an expert physician to review to ascertain whether there was a breach of the standard of care. Search Avvo's "find a lawyer" for a medical malpractice lawyer in your state, and get representation.

Licensed in PA & NJ. 29% Contingency Fee. Phone: 215-510-6755 www.InjuryLawyerPhiladelphia.com

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Posted

Thank you. I called today to get a copy of the records. I just hope all the details are in there. When I brought up the issue to my OB, she said that's the problem with anesthesiologists. That and they don't require follow-up appointments so it's hard to ever go back on them.

Posted

Ohio has a one year medical malpractice statute of limitations. This means normally you must file suit within one year of the date of the injury by the resident. The one year may be extended under certain circumstances, but you MUST speak to a medical malpractice attorney in Cleveland IMMEDIATELY to determine if you still have time to file suit or time has expired. Call your local bar association's lawyer referral service today, and ask to be referred to a med mal attorney. Call the attorney today.

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Posted

I've gotten conflicting info about statute of limitations in ohio. I was told that that goes into effect after it has been determined by a medical professional that it was in fact the epidural that is causing my pain. Not a year from the actual procedure. ??

Mark Wayne Napier

Mark Wayne Napier

Posted

The question is when does your possible med mal claim accrue - meaning when does the one year begin to run. It normally is from the date of injury, but this might be extended given certain circumstances. I am unable to go into detail on this, so please speak to a med mal attorney in your area today. Best regards.

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