Necrotising fasciitis is a serious bacterial infection that must be treated with intravenous antibiotics and urgent surgical debridement of the necrotic tissue.
Why is debridement surgery needed?
Necrotising fasciitis causes the tissue and underlying fascia to break down and die. This leaves an area of necrotic tissue that cannot regrow. It must therefore be surgically removed – a procedure known as debridement.
Debridement surgery should be done at the earliest available opportunity or the bacteria will continue to spread, causing the area of necrosis to grow in size. This will leave a large open wound and, if not treated in time, could lead to blood poisoning and multi organ failure.
Debridement surgery is the only way to prevent these devastating consequences, as it is the only way to remove the bacteria from the body.
Urgent surgical debridement of necrotising fasciitis
A necrotising fasciitis patient must undergo debridement surgery as a matter of urgency. This is because the bacteria spread at an alarming speed, creating more and more necrotic tissue as they go. An open wound can develop within hours, and multi-organ failure can occur within days. This means that any delays could be fatal.
Because of the speed with which treatment is needed, medical professionals must make a timely diagnosis. Although it is a rare condition, medical practitioners within the UK should have the necessary knowledge and expertise to recognise the signs of a severe infection. Swabs can then be sent for testing and this will reveal the presence of necrotising fasciitis.
As soon as a diagnosis is made, a patient should be prepared for debridement surgery. The necrotic tissue should be cut away to ride the body of infection. More than one surgical procedure may be needed in order to excise all the dead tissue.
Delayed debridement of necrotising fasciitis
Unfortunately, however, not all necrotising fasciitis patients receive the emergency treatment they desperately need. Sometimes this is because a patient does not present to a GP or hospital until the later stages of the condition. Other times it is because medical professionals fail to make a diagnosis, or fail to appreciate the urgency with which treatment must be provided.
If the debridement of necrotising fasciitis is delayed due to medical error, there could be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim. To find out more, you need to talk to a solicitor who specialises in this area of the law.