Necrotising fasciitis is a serious bacterial infection that is often dubbed ‘the flesh-eating disease’.
Can you prevent necrotising fasciitis?
All it takes for necrotising fasciitis to occur is a break in the skin, as this will give the bacteria the opportunity to enter the body. This might be a tiny scratch or a large surgical incision. Therefore anyone can develop necrotising fasciitis, although there are certain factors that increase the risk, including obesity, diabetes, a compromised immune system and old age.
But is there anything you can do to prevent necrotising fasciitis? There is no definite way of doing so as there are various types of bacteria that can cause necrotising fasciitis. It is not possible to avoid them entirely.
However, you can do things to defend yourself against bacteria, such as washing your hands frequently and treating cuts with antibiotic cream. If possible do not break the skin. It may be tempting to pop a skin blister, but keeping the skin intact is the best way to prevent infection.
Preventing necrotising fasciitis in hospital
It is also the responsibility of medical professionals to prevent hospital acquired infections such as necrotising fasciitis.
To achieve this, good hygiene levels must be maintained at all times. Additionally, a patient who is undergoing surgery should be risk assessed for surgical site infection. If a patient is thought to be vulnerable to infection, he or she should be administered prophylactic (preventative) antibiotics. This might include patients that:-
- Are undergoing abdominal surgery
- Have diabetes
- Have a compromised immune system
- Are overweight
- Smoke and/or drink alcohol excessively
- Are over the age of 60
These antibiotics are given as a precautionary measure, helping to prevent at-risk patients developing a post-operative infection.
Treating necrotising fasciitis
If necrotising fasciitis does develop – either in or outside of a healthcare environment – medical treatment must be given immediately. This will stop the infection in its tracks, preventing a large area of tissue from becoming necrotic. As long as treatment is given in the early stages, a patient should make a good recovery.
Substandard medical care
Unfortunately, however, there are times when substandard medical care causes a necrotising fasciitis patient further pain and suffering. This might be because:-
- Hospital staff failed to maintain good hygiene levels, resulting in a hospital acquired infection;
- Medical professionals failed to administered prophylactic antibiotics to a patient at-risk of developing necrotising fasciitis;
- Medical professionals failed to diagnose and treat a patient with necrotising fasciitis in a timely fashion.
If you or your loved one has been harmed because of negligent medical care, get in touch with us today to discuss making a necrotising fasciitis claim.