Necrotising fasciitis is a severe infection that must be treated quickly if complications are to be avoided.
Treating necrotising fasciitis
Necrotising fasciitis is an infection that causes the tissue to become necrotic. This occurs because chemicals released by the bacteria damage the tissue and blood vessels. This restricts the flow of blood to the tissue, resulting in a lack of oxygen. The tissue then breaks down until eventually the tissue is so deficient in oxygen it dies – or in medical terms, becomes necrotic.
Once the tissue is necrotic it cannot be saved. This will leave an open wound that becomes larger and larger as the bacteria reproduce and spread. To prevent this from happening, treatment must be provided without delay.
Firstly, intravenous antibiotics must be given to help kill the bacteria. Secondly, a patient must undergo urgent debridement surgery to remove the necrotic tissue. It is important all the dead tissue is excised as this is the only way to rid the body of the bacteria. More than one operation may be needed.
After all the tissue has been removed, treatment will be required to help the wound heal. Depending upon the size of the defect, a patient may require vacuum assisted therapy (VAC), skin grafts and blood transfusions. In some cases, amputation of a limb may be required.
Delay in treating necrotising fasciitis
If treatment is given in a timely fashion, a patient can be cured of necrotising fasciitis before serious complications ensue. This will ensure that the bacteria are prevented from spreading any further, in turn preventing a large area of tissue from becoming necrotic.
But if there is a delay, the bacteria will continue to reproduce at a rapid rate, moving further and further across the body. This will cause more tissue to become ischaemic and die, leaving a large open wound that can lead to very serious – if not fatal – complications.
Sometimes this delay will occur because a patient does not seek medical help in the early stages of infection. Other times a delay will happen because medical professionals do not recognise that a patient has necrotising fasciitis, and therefore do not arrange the urgent treatment a patient so desperately requires.
Claiming compensation for delayed necrotising fasciitis treatment
If there was a delay in treating your necrotising fasciitis because doctors did not make a timely diagnosis, you need to speak to a solicitor about your medical care. This is because you may be the victim of medical negligence, meaning you will be entitled to compensation for the damages you have incurred.