A diagnosis of necrotising fasciitis will mean the patient has to undergo emergency surgery. Sometimes surgery may even be necessary to confirm the diagnosis.
The urgency of surgery
It may seem strange that surgery is necessary for an infection but, if left untreated, necrotising fasciitis will destroy the patient’s tissue, rapidly causing widespread damage. Eventually, the patient’s major organs will start to struggle and the patient will die.
Consequently, it is absolutely crucial that the infected tissue is removed from the patient’s body as soon as possible in order to prevent the bacteria from spreading any further.
Surgery will involve removing the infected tissue from the patient’s body. Depending on the extent of the infection, this may require fairly extensive tissue debridement and can, in itself, cause considerable trauma to the patient.
Therefore, prompt surgery can have a number of benefits:
- The infection will not spread as widely through the body
- The patient will require less debridement (removal of tissue) overall
- The patient is likely to spend a shorter time in hospital and have a shorter recovery period
- The patient is less likely to require the amputation of part of the body
- The patient is more likely to survive
Diagnosing necrotising fasciitis
Where diagnosis and surgery are delayed, the patient is clearly at a far greater risk. Recognising and acting upon the possible signs and symptoms of necrotising fasciitis is, therefore, vital. Necrotising fasciitis has a high mortality rate and any delay could prove fatal.
A number of factors may indicate that a patient is developing necrotising fasciitis:
- The patient may have a cut or a wound which has allowed bacteria to enter the deep, soft tissue of the body
- There is likely to be redness, swelling and tenderness in the area of any such wound
- The patient may have a high temperature and a fast heartbeat
- The wound is most likely to be in the abdominal region or one of the extremities
Where there is any uncertainty, a referral for specialist advice and investigation is necessary.
A failure to consider a diagnosis of necrotising fasciitis in a patient exhibiting possible symptoms of this life-threatening illness may be considered to have been negligent.
Where the patient suffers significant long-term problems due to this failure, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.
Speak to a solicitor
Contact us to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor. We have supported numerous compensation claims regarding this appalling infection and would be happy to advise you.