Diabetes is one of the risk factors associated with necrotising fasciitis, a serious bacterial infection often called ‘the flesh-eating disease’.
Diabetes and necrotising fasciitis
Diabetes weakens the immune system, meaning diabetic people are more likely to contract infections such as necrotising fasciitis. Necrotising fasciitis is a rare and aggressive infection that attacks the soft tissue and fascia, causing it to break down and die. In medical terms, this is called tissue necrosis.
Along with diabetes, there are some other factors that increase the risk of developing necrotising fasciitis. These include being overweight, having an open wound and being immunocompromised (which means having a weakened immune system due to disease).
Diabetic patients and surgery
Because diabetic patients are at increased risk of developing necrotising fasciitis, medical professionals should administer precautionary antibiotics before an operation. Surgical procedures always increase the risk of infection as it causes can imbalance of bacteria in the body, and provides bacteria with the opportunity to enter the body.
Providing antibiotics beforehand will ensure any infections – such as necrotising fasciitis – do not arise after a surgical procedure. This is called administering prophylactic antibiotics, with prophylactic meaning ‘preventative.’
Diagnosing necrotising fasciitis
However, necrotising fasciitis does not only occur after surgery. It can infect anyone, whether or not they are in hospital. All it takes is for the bacteria to enter the body through a break in the skin, which can be as small as pinprick.
If a diabetic patient presents with the early symptoms of necrotising fasciitis, medical professionals should immediately recognise that he/she has some sort of infection. Given that a patient is more prone to infection because of their diabetes, this suspicion should be especially elevated.
The early symptoms of necrotising fasciitis include an intense pain that is disproportionate to the injury, fever, chills, and skin that is red and hot to touch.
Necrotising fasciitis claims
If medical professionals fail to realise a diabetic patient has necrotising fasciitis in a timely fashion, there will be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim. This will also apply if a diabetic patient is not given prophylactic antibiotics before an operation and necrotising fasciitis subsequently develops.
If you have developed necrotising fasciitis and substandard medical care caused you additional pain and suffering, get in touch with us today. It may be that you are entitled to pursue a claim against the medical practitioner or organisation responsible, meaning you will be able to obtain compensation for the damages wrongfully incurred.