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Can I Claim Compensation for Necrotising Fasciitis?

Necrotising fasciitis is a fast-moving and life-threatening illness which can leave its victims with appalling disfigurement and disability. Contracting and suffering from this infection is not necessarily a justification for a compensation claim but a failure by medical professionals to act upon the possible symptoms may well be.

The impact of necrotising fasciitis

Necrotising fasciitis has been dubbed 'the flesh-eating disease' with good reason. Once the relevant bacteria reach the body's deep soft tissue, the infection begins to cause the decay of all the tissue which it infects.

Without prompt attention, the patient risks suffering severe scarring, significant loss of tissue, possible limb amputation and disability and, at worst, death. Even with treatment, the mortality rate of necrotising fasciitis is high.

Surviving the infection and minimising its impact becomes a race against time.

It is absolutely crucial therefore, that symptoms which might indicate that the patient is developing necrotising fasciitis are taken very seriously and investigated promptly.

Surgery is always necessary and may even be required to confirm a diagnosis. A delay in treatment is likely to increase the amount of surgery required, the length of time the patient has to spend in hospital and the long-term impact.

Symptoms of necrotising fasciitis

Although necrotising fasciitis can develop as a result of an internal problem such as a ruptured bowel, it usually occurs when the patient has suffered some form of cut to the skin.

This could take the form of a graze, a cut, an injection site or a surgical incision.

As the infection develops around the area of the cut, redness, swelling and tenderness are likely to develop and the patient will start to suffer intense pain in that region.

A patient who attends their GP or A & E unit with these symptoms should be assessed for the possibility that they are developing necrotising fasciitis. It is possible that the patient will also be showing signs of infection with a high temperature or chills as well as a fast heartbeat.

Hospital infection

Patients who are in hospital following an operation or with a wound are at risk of developing just such an infection and should be closely monitored for symptoms of necrotising fasciitis.

A failure to monitor a patient in this situation or to act promptly on signs of infection may be considered to have been negligent.

Medical negligence

Where there had been an opportunity to investigate and diagnose a patient's symptoms of necrotising fasciitis but that opportunity was missed, the medical professional may be considered to have provided a substandard level of care.

If the patient suffers a long-term significantly worse outcome as a result of such negligence, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Necrotising fasciitis can destroy a person's life, limiting their ability to work, travel, socialise and remain independent.

A successful claim can help to reduce the trauma and stress of this outcome.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering the appalling impact of necrotising fasciitis due to a delayed diagnosis, contact us today to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

Please call us free on 0800 234 3300 (or from a mobile 01275 334030) or complete our Online Enquiry Form.

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