Epidural gets stuck in Florida woman's back, isn't removed for 4 days

A Florida woman recently spent her first few days as a mother in pain because of a botched epidural injection that left the needle in her spine.

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Selena Gray, 18, went to Sacred Heart Hospital in Pensacola on June 25, and received an epidural shortly after being admitted. She delivered her daughter, Serenity, the next day.

"I had a great labor," Gray told Fox Television Stations, "I didn't notice any problems until the nurse went to go pull out the epidural string... That's when the whole journey began."

Somehow, the epidural had looped itself into Gray's spine, and nurses were unable to remove it.

"Between the 48 hours that we were there, she had five doctors come in, tugging and pulling on her back, attempting to get the epidural out and they could not get it out," Gray's stepmother, Patricia Alvarado, told The Pensacola News-Journal.

As Gray's pain increased, she decided to transfer from the hospital to seek alternate care. She went to nearby Baptist Hospital. However, doctors there were so bewildered by her case that they didn't want to touch her, WOFL-TV reported.

An anesthesiologist at Baptist Hospital referred the family to the University of Florida Health Shands Cancer Hospital in Gainesville, where a doctor said they could handle the problem, Alvarado said. Early Friday morning, an ambulance drove Gray six hours from Pensacola to Gainesville. There, she underwent surgery, which successfully removed the epidural.

"It's been crazy 'cause I still have a burning sensation in my hip and leg," Gray told the News-Journal Monday. "I'm kind of moving around on the walker a little bit but I'm having a lot of muscle spasms. Basically, day by day I'm trying to take it slow, 'cause every morning I wake up I just start right back over with the pain."

The doctors at Shands Hospital didn't give Gray a timetable for recovery, and said they had never seen a case like hers, Gray said.

Gray said she is still in a lot of pain. She can't pick up Serenity on her own and relies on family members to carry her. She also cannot breastfeed Serenity, as she had planned to, because she's taking narcotics to manage her pain.

However, Gray said she's thankful for the slow progress she's made.

“Every morning when I wake up, it’s like a restart. I’m just taking it day by day," she said.

Alvarado said she plans to take legal action against Sacred Heart.

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