Necrotising fasciitis is a medical emergency. If you suspect you have the condition, you should seek medical assistance immediately.
Necrotising fasciitis – a bacterial infection
Necrotising fasciitis is also called the ‘flesh eating bacteria’. This is a rare infection of deep layers of skin and subcutaneous tissues.
The most common organism which causes the infection if Group A Streptococcus, also known as Streptococcus Pyogenes. Other bacteria that can cause necrotising fasciitis include Vibrio vulnificus, Clostridium perfringens and Bacterides fragilis.
The infection usually begins locally and can arise spontaneously in previously healthy people.
Signs of necrotising fasciitis
The infection is characterised by severe pain at the site of infection rapidly followed by tissue necrosis. The affected area is at first very painful without any grossly visible signs.
As the disease progresses, the tissue will start to become swollen, painful with redness and the skin becomes hot. The skin colour changes to violet with blister formation followed by necrosis (death) of the tissues. Patients with necrotising fasciitis may have a fever and will feel very ill.
Diagnosing necrotising fasciitis
The most notable sign of necrotising fasciitis is a history of pain which is disproportionate to the injury that has been sustained (if an injury is visible). This pain will not be accompanied by any external physical signs. If you have these symptoms, you must go straight to hospital for further tests.
Medical practitioners should recognise the symptoms as being indicative of a serious bacterial infection and start you on intravenous antibiotics. If the problem persists a surgical exploration of the area should be carried out.
If necrotising fasciitis is present, the clinical signs should be apparent during a surgical exploration, while cultures can also be sent to the laboratory for testing. This will confirm that an accurate diagnosis is been obtained.
Failing to recognise the signs of necrotising fasciitis
Unfortunately, however, medical practitioners do not always understand the early symptoms of necrotising fasciitis, attributing them to a more minor condition. There are accounts of patient repeatedly seeking medical help, only to be misdiagnosed each time.
A missed disgnosis will prove disastrous as necrotising fasciitis is a medical emergency, meaning it must be treated quickly if life-threatening complications are to be avoided. The bacteria will spread very rapidly, creating a large area of dead tissue. All of this will have to be surgically removed, leaving a gaping wound. Furthermore, the infection may spread to the blood, potentially leading to septic shock and organ failure.
If a patient develops the aforementioned complications because of a missed diagnosis, medical practitioners will be held responsible. The injured patient will therefore be entitled to pursue compensation for the damages incurred.
To claim compensation for necrotising fasciitis, contact us today.