A delayed diagnosis of necrotising fasciitis can mean the patient is left requiring a colostomy bag, either for the short-term or the long-term.
What is necrotising fasciitis?
Necrotising fasciitis is an infection of the body’s deep, soft tissue which can cause destruction of all affected tissue. It is a virulent condition, sometimes spreading at a rate of up to two – three centimetres per hour.
The impact of the tissue necrosis or tissue death can affect the functioning of the bloodstream and the major organs, rapidly threatening the patient’s life.
The impact of necrotising fasciitis
Although it can develop elsewhere, necrotising fasciitis predominantly occurs in the abdominal area and the limbs.
It can also affect the groin, perineal and perianal areas, developing around the buttocks, and, in men, sometimes affecting the scrotum and penis.
Necrotising fasciitis can cause extreme pain, swelling and tissue destruction in the affected areas which is also likely to become discoloured and tender to the touch. The patient is likely to also be suffering with flu-like symptoms such as a high temperature and fever with a fast heartbeat and rapid breathing.
Development of the condition
Necrotising fasciitis of the groin can start with an abscess in the buttock area and, over a few days, spread to the perineal area between the legs and to the scrotum.
If the infection spreads to the anal area, the functioning of the bowel can become compromised either due to the infection itself and the associated tissue damage or through the necessary process of tissue debridement (removal) during the treatment of the patient.
It is possible that the patient may require a colostomy procedure in order to allow the bowel to continue to function via a stoma.
If the patient is fortunate, it may be possible to reverse the colostomy once the infection has been halted and if the bowel is able to function.
It is also possible for necrotising fasciitis to develop from an abscess in the bowel which is quite likely to affect the functioning of the bowel long-term, requiring the patient to have a permanent colostomy bag.
Diagnosing necrotising fasciitis
As can be seen above, the effects of necrotising fasciitis can be truly shocking and impact on the patient for their lifetime.
It is, therefore, highly desirable that symptoms should be spotted as early as possible so that the patient can undergo investigations in hospital and receive emergency treatment.
Where the early symptoms of intense pain, tenderness and swelling in the area of an injury or cut to the skin, accompanied by flu-like symptoms are not recognised by medical professionals, allowing the patient’s condition to deteriorate, it may be that the relevant practitioner is considered to have acted negligently.
Contact us to discuss your experience with a specialist medical negligence solicitor. We have supported numerous clients in claims for compensation regarding the delayed diagnosis of necrotising fasciitis and would be happy to advise you.