According to the British Medical Journal (BMJ), there are about 500 cases of necrotising fasciitis in the UK every year.
A rare infection
With 500 cases in the UK a year, necrotising fasciitis is a relatively rare infection. Nevertheless, it is not so rare that medical professionals would be excused in failing to make a diagnosis. Most GPs and emergency department doctors will deal with a case of necrotising fasciitis during their course of their career. Furthermore, all doctors should have an awareness of the infection, and be able to use their medical expertise to work towards an accurate diagnosis.
Diagnosing necrotising fasciitis
A patient with necrotising fasciitis will display the typical signs of a bacterial infection. This includes a fever, generally feeling unwell and a high white blood cell count. There will also be a severe pain that is disproportionate to the injury sustained. In some cases there will be no apparent injury. This is one of the most important symptoms of necrotising fasciitis as it is very unusual to have a chronic pain with no obvious cause.
Medical professionals should apply their medical knowledge, recognising that the pain and the fever clearly indicates that a patient has some kind of infection. Steps should then be taken to confirm what type of infection is present. It should not take long to reach a diagnosis of necrotising fasciitis as swabs can be sent to the laboratory for testing.
Even before the results come back it should be possible to diagnose necrotising fasciitis as a patient will become rapidly unwell and will not be responding to treatment. Their blood pressure will drop, which is a sure sign of severe infection. The site of infection will also begin to turn darker in colour, going from red to purple to black.
Necrotising fasciitis claims UK
Unfortunately, however, medical professionals do not always manage to make an accurate diagnosis in a timely fashion. It is for this reason that many patients who develop necrotising fasciitis in the UK go on to make a successful compensation claims.
Any competent medical professional in the UK should be able to diagnose the condition and appreciate the need for urgent treatment. A failure to do so will amount to a substandard level of medical care. If the patient suffers further injury because of this substandard level of care – for example, he/she required extensive surgical debridement – there will be a case of medical negligence.
If you live in the UK and you would like to know more about necrotising fasciitis compensation claims, get in touch with us today.