Necrotising fasciitis requires early medical treatment. It is therefore vital that medical professionals recognise the early symptoms of necrotising fasciitis.
First signs of necrotising fasciitis
Necrotising fasciitis is a serious bacterial infection. It happens when a certain type of bacteria get into the body’s soft tissues and multiply. As they do so, they release a toxin that attacks the tissue and underlying fascia (connective tissue). As the tissue begins to break down, the individual in question will notice:-
- An intense pain at the site of infection. This pain is often inexplicable, or disproportionate to the injury previously sustained;
- The skin may also look red and feel hot to touch;
- Feverish symptoms, including a temperature and generally feeling unwell.
These are the early symptoms of necrotising fasciitis.
Recognising the early symptoms of necrotising fasciitis
The early symptoms of necrotising fasciitis may seem relatively slight for such a serious condition. Nevertheless, medical professionals should be able to recognise them as being indicative of an infection.
In particular, the fever and the intense pain that is disproportionate to the injury should set alarm bells ringing, highlighting the presence of a soft tissue infection. This can be quickly confirmed with a blood test (which will show a raised white blood cell count) and a swab of the infected area (to be sent to the lab for analysis).
Even if medical professionals are initially uncertain of the diagnosis, it should quickly become apparent when the skin begins to discolour. The skin will turn from dark red to purple and black in colour – a clear visual sign that the tissue is infected.
Failing to recognise the early symptoms
Unfortunately, however, medical professionals do not always recognise the early symptoms of necrotising fasciitis. When this happens the infection will continue to spread across the body, creating more and more necrotic tissue. This will leave the patient will a large open wound and a permanent defect. If the infection gets into the bloodstream, it can ultimately be fatal.
Medical professionals in the UK should be able to use their knowledge and expertise to diagnose necrotising fasciitis. Even though it is a rare condition, doctors should realise that a patient’s symptoms are indicative of an infection and carry out further tests to confirm a diagnosis.
If medical professionals fail to reach a timely diagnosis, causing a patient unnecessary pain and suffering, there will be grounds for a medical negligence claim. To find out more, contact us today.