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Necrotising Fasciitis

Necrotising fasciitis is a rare but deadly bacterial skin infection that spreads quickly into the deep layers of skin and subcutaneous tissue.

The infection, also known as the ‘flesh-eating bug’, spreads rapidly across the body and requires fast antibiotic administration with surgical intervention if necessary.

The infection usually occurs in an extremity following a skin trauma or surgery and presents itself on the skin in the form of a red patch. The patch progressively develops into a more extensive sore and spreads rapidly through the layers of skin.

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Necrotising fasciitis compensation

In the UK alone, there are approximately 500 new cases of necrotising fasciitis every year. If left untreated it is a potentially fatal condition with mortality rates increasing drastically the longer it is left untreated.

The symptoms of necrotising fasciitis vary depending on how advanced the bacteria has become but usually within the first 24 hours of infection patients can expect to feel intense pain with feelings of flu. Within the next few days swelling of the infected area could be expected along with diarrhoea and/or vomiting. As well as this, fluid-filled blister like blotches may appear on the skin and patients may suffer a severe drop in blood pressure. The following days of infection may lead to toxic shock and severe weakness or unconsciousness.

In light of this, it is essential that diagnosis is made as early as possible and intensive treatment commenced. If left untreated then the bacteria can become life threatening causing systemic sepsis, multi-organ failure, and even death.

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How can necrotising fasciitis be avoided?

Necrotising fasciitis develops as a result of bacteria entering a wound in the skin. If surgery has taken place or an area of broken skin is present, no matter how small, then good wound care is essential to avoid bacterium infecting it. This can be done by regularly changing dressings and providing antibiotic cover if necessary. Extra care should be taken in those patients who suffer from a low immune system and thus are more susceptible to contracting infections.

It is very uncommon for necrotising fasciitis to spread from person to person but in some rare circumstances this can occur when the infected tissue comes in contact with the open wound of another person.

Have you suffered a delay in diagnosing and treating necrotising fasciitis?

Please do not hesitate to contact one of our specialised team members today for free advice regarding whether you may have a potential medical negligence claim on 01244 354688.

Our Clinical Negligence Team benefits from in-house medical knowledge from our Head of Department, Linda Schermer-Jones, who is a dual qualified doctor and solicitor. We therefore have the ability to quickly and efficiently assess any areas of potential negligence you, or a loved one, may have suffered.


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