A woman has developed necrotising fasciitis after being bitten by a false widow spider in Sunderland.
It is rare for necrotising fasciitis to develop after a spider bite, and yet it can happen. When necrotising fasciitis does arise, it is vital that a patient receives immediate treatment.
Necrotising fasciitis from a spider bite
Necrotising fasciitis is a serious infection that happens when a certain type of bacteria enter the body and get into the subcutaneous tissue. The bacteria then reproduce, releasing a toxin damages the tissue, causing it to break down and die. If left untreated, necrotising fasciitis will be fatal.
The bacteria can enter the body through a break in the skin. This might be a large surgical wound or a tiny cut picked up in the garden (for example). The bacteria can also enter the body through a bite that has penetrated the skin – such as a spider bite.
This is exactly what happened recently to Andrea Wallace from Seaham in County Durham. She was in a park in Sunderland when she was bitten by a false widow spider. False widows are the UK’s most venomous spider, although severe reactions such as the one suffered by Ms Wallace are rare.
She quickly became unwell and was rushed to hospital where doctors diagnosed necrotising fasciitis. It is thought the spider that bit her was carrying the bacteria which cause the infection. By the time she reached hospital her finger (which had been bitten) was severely infected. Ms Wallace described it as “bursting open” with pus.
She was rushed into surgery and the necrotic tissue removed. Unfortunately her finger could not be saved and it had to be amputated. Nevertheless, the mother-of-four says this is a “small price to pay” as she could have lost her life, had it not been for the rapid reactions of hospital staff.
Delayed treatment of necrotising fasciitis
Indeed, doctors told Ms Wallace that had she waited another two hours to attend hospital, she would have died. This shows just how quickly necrotising fasciitis spreads. It is for this reason that medical practitioners cannot delay in making an accurate diagnosis and providing emergency treatment. If there is any set-back, the consequences could be fatal.
If there is a delay, the standard of medical care provided should be called into question. If medical practitioners failed to act in a reasonable amount of time, resulting in serious complications for the patient, there may be grounds for a medical negligence compensation claim.
If you suspect you could be entitled to pursue a claim for necrotising fasciitis, please get in touch with us today.