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Spinal fluid leaks post-delivery: A birth injury mothers seldom hear about

| Apr 21, 2021 | Medical Malpractice

Spinal epidurals are generally considered a safe form of pain control during childbirth, whether a mother is about to deliver vaginally or by C-section. The only problem is that they can lead to devastating injuries — and most expectant mothers have no idea that can happen.

A cerebrospinal fluid leak is one such injury that is quite traumatic to experience.

What’s a cerebrospinal fluid leak?

When spinal epidurals are given before delivery, they’re usually low in the mother’s back. Unfortunately, those tiny little holes caused by the epidural catheter in the spine don’t always heal like they should. If that occurs, it allows cerebrospinal fluid to gradually leak out of the brain on a more-or-less continuous basis.

When that happens, the new mother may find herself totally incapacitated by a host of unpleasant symptoms, ranging from:

  • Severe head pain
  • Double vision
  • Nausea
  • Numbness in their extremities
  • Fatigue

Sitting up, standing, walking, talking and caring for their newborn can be impossible. If the leak is detected early enough, doctors may try to “patch” the hole that’s allowing the drain. However, patches aren’t always successful in all cases.

Worse, if the leak isn’t detected before the new mother goes home, she may end up seeking treatment for her worsening health problems with a doctor who misdiagnoses her with sinusitis, migraines or another  unrelated disorder. That can send her on a spiral of ineffective treatments, new diagnoses and more health issues.

If you suffered a spinal fluid leak after delivery, what next?

Generally, spinal fluid leaks following a delivery are due to anesthesiology errors. Those, however, may be compounded by subsequent failures on the part of other medical professionals. If you’ve been injured due to a cerebrospinal fluid leak, the best thing you can do is seek guidance from an attorney.

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