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Compensation for Necrotising Fasciitis due to Negligent Abscess Treatment

Compensation for Necrotising Fasciitis due to Negligent Abscess Treatment

The horrific infection which is necrotising fasciitis can arise from poor medical management of an abscess. A failure to treat an abscess effectively can allow this appalling bacterial infection to reach the body's deep soft tissue where it will start to destroy all tissue with which it comes into contact.

A patient who has attended their GP with an abscess can, within a matter of days, find themselves in hospital undergoing a series of surgical procedures to remove tissue infected with necrotising fasciitis. This can result in extensive tissue damage, scarring, deformity and disability, depending on the location of the infection and the extent of damage caused prior to treatment.

In extreme circumstances, it can lead to the amputation of a limb, the loss of bowel function and even the death of the patient.

Case studies

In several recent cases, it was found that, had the patient's medical practitioner undertaken a more appropriate form of treatment of the patient's abscess, they would probably not have developed necrotising fasciitis or suffered the horrific array of permanent symptoms as a result.

  • 1) One recent client with a history of abscesses attended her GP complaining of an abscess in the thigh but was sent home with antibiotics and a diagnosis of cellulitis. Our client attended Accident and Emergency two days later and the abscess was drained but, by the following day, it was discovered that she had developed necrotising fasciitis. She suffered blood poisoning and multiple organ failure and significant sight loss as a result of the delay in treating her abscess.
  • 2) Another client likewise attended her medical practitioner with a lump in her groin. She received a diagnosis of an abscess but, instead of draining the abscess, the GP sent her home with antibiotics and another appointment. Returning to her GP four days later, it was realised that she needed immediate hospital treatment. Unfortunately, our client continued to deteriorate because her abscess wound had become infected with necrotising fasciitis. Although she thankfully eventually made a recovery, our client was left with a 40cm scar, evidence of the trauma she had experienced.
  • 3) Despite attending her GP with pain and bowel symptoms on several occasions, our client's bowel abscess was not diagnosed. Eventually a different medical practitioner recognised the problem and sent our client to hospital immediately. Although the abscess was then drained it was unfortunately too late to prevent necrotising fasciitis setting in. The location of the infection in the bowel and the necessary surgical tissue removal meant that our client suffered significant tissue loss and had to undergo a colostomy in order to provide bowel function.

Risk factors

As can be seen from the above case studies, a failure to diagnose and treat an abscess appropriately may cause permanent disability.

It may also justify a claim for compensation for the patient's pain, suffering and associated financial losses.

It may be regarded as a particular failure of care, where the patient exhibited risk factors associated with the development of soft-tissue infections.

This might include a history of experiencing abscesses, being diabetic and being significantly overweight, all of which increase the likelihood that the patient will develop a severe infection.

Medical negligence

A medical practitioner may be regarded as having provided a substandard level of care if they fail to take appropriate steps to ensure a prompt diagnosis of the patient's symptoms.

Where a diagnosis is uncertain, it may be appropriate to refer the patient for further investigation. It may also be necessary to warn the patient of possible symptoms which might require them to attend hospital as a matter of emergency. A failure to do either of these things may also be regarded as a poor standard of care.

Where the patient suffers significant and on-going problems as a result of their substandard care, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering from the appalling impact of a necrotising fasciitis infection due to a failure by your medical professional to provide prompt medical care of an abscess, contact Glynns today. One of our specialist medical negligence solicitors will be very happy to discuss your experience with you and advise you as to the suitability of making a claim for compensation.

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"Before we contacted you we had no real idea that we had grounds for a medical negligence claim but after speaking to you if became clear that Wendy was indeed treated poorly. Chris took the time to explain what was happening and kept us to speed. Our deepest gratitude to you all and Chris in particular."

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