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Two years ago, i was given the hard sell by my hospital to opt for a "revolutionary mobile epidural for a trouble-free, pain-free delivery".

MagazineOctober 1995 (Vol. 6 Issue 7)Two years ago, i was given the hard sell by my hospital to opt for a "revolutionary mobile epidural for a trouble-free, pain-free delivery".

Six hours after I went into labour, I felt the anesthetist jab in the epidural needle extremely fast

I agreed. Six hours after I went into labour, I felt the anesthetist jab in the epidural needle extremely fast. My right leg shot out sideways in an uncontrollable spasm. The pain was intense, like a violent electric shock. After a similar episod

As the epidural wore off, it was the pain in my right leg, which was worse than the contractions, that alerted me to the fact that I needed a top-up.

Thankfully, I gave birth to a healthy baby boy. It was when I finally attempted to get out of bed that I realized something was very wrong. My right leg felt very numb, and I could only walk with the assistance of a midwife. When the epidural finally wore off, I was in acute pain.

The cause of my pain seemed obvious only to me, and it was extremely frustrating that people began blaming my injury on anything and everything else. At the time the consultant anesthetist refused to accept that my problem was caused by the epidural.

I hobbled out of the hospital three days later with the aid of a walking stick. Looking after my new baby was extremely difficult. I could only get up and down the stairs on all fours, and could not hold my baby safely while standing.

The months went by and there was no improvement. My right leg became 5 cm thinner than the left and I began to experience circulatory problems. After spending a great deal of my own money on many specialists and extensive tests, I now have confirmation that the epidural needle damaged not one, but several nerve roots.

The pain from nerve damage is the most uncomfortable, horrible feeling, from which there seems no escape. Walking or driving any distance becomes very uncomfortable, I can't stand on tiptoe. I still have areas of reduced sensitivity in my right leg and foot.

Unless cases like mine are recognized by the medical profession and properly documented, the true extent of the damage caused by epidurals will never be known. J H, Twickenham.....


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