While necrotising fasciitis is a rare condition, it should be possible for medical practitioners working in A&E to make an accurate diagnosis in a timely fashion.
A&E medical negligence
Unfortunately necrotising fasciitis is often missed in Accident and Emergency departments. There are many reasons for this, as outlined in more detail below.
Firstly, A&E departments see large numbers of patients complaining of flu-like symptoms, many of which do not need to be treated in hospital. Therefore medical practitioners may readily dismiss the symptoms of necrotising fasciitis for a more minor condition and discharge a patient. He or she may be told to visit their GP instead, but this may not prove helpful as a GP will often rely upon the opinion of hospital doctors.
Secondly, A&E doctors may fail to examine a patient before discharging him/her, or fail to appreciate their test results. Necrotising fasciitis can be diagnosed with some very simple tests, including a blood test, urine test, blood pressure test and a swab of the infected area. If these tests are undertaken and properly analysed, it will show that a patient has some form of severe infection. Once the swab is assessed by the microbiology department, it will become apparent that necrotising fasciitis is present.
Lastly, a lack of experience may be to blame. Necrotising fasciitis is relatively rare and many doctors in A&E are of a junior position. This means they will not be familiar with severe infections such as necrotising fasciitis, and will not feel the need to seek the opinion of a more senior doctor.
Claiming for necrotising fasciitis
However, these are not valid reasons for failing to diagnose necrotising fasciitis. Medical practitioners working in A&E departments in the UK should be able to recognise the signs of a severe infection. Tests should then be carried out, and this will lead to an accurate diagnosis of necrotising fasciitis being made.
If a patient with necrotising fasciitis visits A&E but a diagnosis is not made, resulting in further injury, there will be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim. This is because in failing to make a diagnosis, medical practitioners will have breached their duty of care towards a patient. Necrotising fasciitis is an aggressive flesh-eating disease, so this delay will invariably cause serious complications. A patient will therefore have been harmed because of a breach of duty, making him/her the victim of medical negligence.
If A&E doctors failed to diagnose your necrotising fasciitis, please get in touch with us today to discuss making a compensation claim.