Necrotising fasciitis is a serious bacterial infection of the subcutaneous tissue. It can affect any area of the body, although the groin is particularly vulnerable.
Necrotising fasciitis and Fournier’s Gangrene
Necrotising fasciitis was first described by a man called Baurienne in 1764, although it was not until 1883 that it was properly studied by French venereologist Jean-Alfred Fournier.
Fournier reported five cases of perineal gangrene in otherwise healthy males, recognising that potential risk factors included diabetes, alcoholism and trauma. The condition was subsequently called ‘Fournier’s Gangrene’.
Nowadays the condition is known as necrotising fasciitis. However, when necrotising fasciitis appears in the groin/perineal region of male patients, it is still referred to as Fournier’s Gangrene.
Diagnosing Fournier’s Gangrene
Fournier’s Gangrene is an aggressive bacterial infection that must be diagnosed and treated in the early stages. A diagnosis is based upon a patient’s symptoms, which will include an intense pain in the groin/perineum/genitalia, and flu-like symptoms.
Because Fournier’s Gangrene often appears to be a simple case of flu, it can be easily misdiagnosed by medical professionals. Nevertheless, the chronic pain that is disproportionate to the actual injury (if there is an injury) is a major indicator that should not be missed by doctors.
Blood and urine tests will help to confirm the presence of an infection because the white blood cell count will be raised. There will also be visual changes to the groin, as the skin will turn dark red and purple in colour.
Together these clinical findings should enable medical professionals to work towards an accurate diagnosis of Fournier’s Gangrene, without too much of a delay.
Delayed diagnosis of Fournier’s gangrene
If medical practitioners fail to make a timely diagnosis, the consequences will be serious. This is because the bacteria release a toxin that attacks the tissue, causing it to break down and die. An open wound will appear, and this will become increasingly large as the bacteria continue to reproduce.
A patient will therefore have a devastating tissue defect in the perineal region. If this has spread to the genitalia, it may result in permanent sexual dysfunction. If the infection reaches the femoral and inguinal lymph nodes in the groin, a patient will become critically unwell, and may go on to suffer sepsis and organ failure.
Claiming compensation for Fournier’s Gangrene
If you or your loved one has suffered because doctors could not diagnose Fournier’s Gangrene in a timely fashion, you could be entitled to claim compensation. Get in touch with us today to find out more.