Necrotising fasciitis is a severe bacterial infection. If it spreads to the blood a serious condition called sepsis will occur, something which can be fatal.
If you or your loved one has developed sepsis as a result of necrotising fasciitis, you need to find out whether medical error is to blame.
Necrotising fasciitis – a severe infection
Necrotising fasciitis happens when a certain type of bacteria get into the body and begin to reproduce. As they reproduce they release a toxin that harms the tissue, causing it to break down. Within a short space of time this will significantly hinder the oxygen supply to the tissue and it will die. This is called tissue necrosis. The tissue will look black and an open wound will develop, making it appear as though the skin has been eaten – hence the nickname the ‘flesh-eating disease’.
Necrotising fasciitis and sepsis
If the bacteria get into the bloodstream, the blood will also become infected. This is called septicaemia. As the blood continues to flow round the body, it will carry the bacteria with it, causing the infection to spread to other parts of the body. The body’s immune system will then overreact, triggering a set of responses that results in inflammation and blood clotting. This is called sepsis and is a life-threatening condition. If not treated in time, sepsis can lead to septic shock, organ failure and death.
Why does sepsis happen with necrotising fasciitis?
Sepsis is a possible result of necrotising fasciitis because the bacteria are reproducing in the deep layers of tissue. This is close to the blood vessels, so it is very easy for the infection to get into the bloodstream. However, it is possible for a necrotising fasciitis patient to avoid developing sepsis – but only if early treatment is provided.
As long as necrotising fasciitis is treated in the early stages, the bacteria can be effectively stopped in their tracks. Antibiotics will help to kill the bacteria, while surgical debridement of the necrotic tissue will ensure the infection is entirely removed from the body. This will successfully cure necrotising fasciitis before sepsis develops.
Nevertheless, there are occasions when medical professionals fail to diagnose necrotising fasciitis when a patient first presents. This will cause a delay in treatment, meaning the bacteria may spread to the bloodstream. If there is a delay because of medical error and this causes a patient further injury (such as sepsis) there will be a case of medical negligence.
Necrotising fasciitis claims
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