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Sepsis due to a Perianal Abscess

Sepsis due to a Perianal Abscess

An untreated perianal abscess can lead to serious complications, such as sepsis and necrotising fasciitis.

What is an abscess?

An abscess is a swollen, painful area under the skin which contains pus. It can often develop when a gland becomes infected, and pus - bacteria and dead infected tissue - accumulate in the infected area.

An abscess can occur anywhere in the body and can grow larger - and more painful - as the infection continues and more pus accumulates.

An abscess may need to be treated with antibiotics or drained to remove the pus.

As well as the visible signs of an abscess, and the associated pain, someone suffering with an abscess may feel feverish with a high temperature.

What is a perianal abscess?

A perianal abscess occurs around the anus which is the end of the bowel where faeces leave the body. An abscess may occur at this point when a gland around the anus becomes infected.

As well as swelling and pain, it may cause irritation around the anus and there may be a discharge of yellowish pus.

How should a perianal abscess be treated?

A small abscess may drain of its own accord and not require treatment. Antibiotics may resolve the underlying bacterial infection which is causing the abscess. But an untreated abscess can lead to severe, life-threatening complications.

It may prove necessary for a surgeon to drain the pus from the abscess by cutting into the abscess whilst the patient is under local or general anaesthetic in order to remove the infected tissue.

At risk of sepsis

If an abscess is not treated effectively in its early stages, the patient is at risk of developing sepsis.

An abscess is frequently the result of the body's natural response to a bacterial infection and sepsis develops when the immune system over-reacts to infection. Therefore, where an infection is present and persistent, the possibility of developing sepsis is increased.

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition which can lead to a reduction in blood pressure and the major organs of the body becoming deprived of necessary oxygen. This will lead to organ dysfunction and failure. Patients with sepsis frequently require significant support in intensive care.

According to the Sepsis Trust, over 40,000 people die from sepsis in the UK each year. Many of these deaths are thought to have been avoidable had they been diagnosed more promptly or had the underlying infections been treated before sepsis set in.

Additionally, the patient can develop necrotising fasciitis, a fast-moving infection of the deep tissue of the body which has a very high mortality rate.

Failure to treat a perianal abscess

If the symptoms of a severe abscess are not identified and treated appropriately, allowing the patient to develop life-threatening sepsis, the medical professionals involved may have offered a substandard level of medical care.

Speak to a solicitor

If you have suffered with the effects of sepsis because your abscess was not effectively treated, you may be able to make a claim for compensation for your pain and suffering. You should speak to an experienced medical negligence solicitor as soon as possible.

Glynns Solicitors is a team of specialist medical negligence solicitors who would be happy to discuss your situation and advise you as to the possibility of making a medical negligence claim.

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