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Necrotising Fasciitis
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Compensation for Necrotising Fasciitis from an Abscess

Necrotising fasciitis is a potentially fatal and hideously destructive infection which can develop from something as simple as a cut or an abscess. Where medical professionals fail to prevent this disastrous outcome, it may be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

An abscess and necrotising fasciitis

Necrotising fasciitis usually requires a route of access for bacteria to enter the body. This can be a simple cut or a surgical wound. It could be an injection site. It could also be via an abscess.

An abscess is a location in the body where pus has collected due to infection. It requires treatment which may be a course of antibiotics and drainage.

Poor management of an abscess can allow bacteria such as clostridium or streptococcus to reach the deep, soft tissue of the body where it can infect and destroy the tissue before swiftly spreading to the surrounding area.

Treating necrotising fasciitis

Treatment of necrotising fasciitis is uncompromising and requires the surgical removal of all infected tissue. This process in itself can cause further physical destruction and deformity whilst potentially saving the patient's life.

Any delay in diagnosis and treatment, therefore, is likely to lead to a greater spread of the infection and the need for more extensive debridement of dead or infected tissue. This increases the likelihood of the patient being more scarred and disabled by their illness and its treatment in the long term.

A delay in the commencement of treatment also increases the risk that the patient will not survive at all.

Case studies

Client A

Client A visited her GP with a large abscess in her groin. She was given antibiotics and sent home but the abscess was not drained. Given that the client was diabetic and susceptible to soft-tissue infections, draining the abscess to reduce the risk of infection would have been appropriate. Unfortunately, before her next appointment, the client's abscess burst and she was admitted to hospital where she was found to be suffering from necrotising fasciitis.

Client B

Client B attended her GP with a large swelling on her thigh. She was diagnosed with cellulitis and an abscess and sent home with antibiotics. Within two days she was in so much pain that she attended Accident and Emergency. She was admitted to hospital and her abscess was drained but she had developed necrotising fasciitis, causing septicaemia by this time.

She required extensive debridement, leaving her with significant scarring and, sadly, suffered sight loss as a result of her sepsis response.

Abscess negligence

  • A failure to recognise that the patient might be suffering with an abscess means that treatment may not be given at all. An abscess can develop internally, in the bowel or abdomen for example, and this possibility needs to be considered when a patient exhibits symptoms of abdominal pain, nausea and a high temperature. Further investigation, such as an ultrasound or MRI scan should be undertaken to rule out possibilities which might lead to severe infection.
  • A failure to treat an abscess in an appropriate and timely manner can be disastrous as seen in our case studies above. It may be regarded as particularly poor quality care when a patient who is susceptible to infection does not receive sufficiently scrupulous care. Patients who are diabetic, with heart or liver problems or suffering from a weakened immune system are all at risk of developing a soft-tissue infection. A delay in diagnosis and treatment, leaving the patient with a poor long-term outcome might be regarded as substandard care and justify a claim for compensation.

Long-term effects and compensation

The long-term effects of a necrotising fasciitis infection can be diverse and debilitating, both physically and psychologically.

The physical damage of both the destructive infection and its associated treatment can, in some cases, leave the patient having lost a limb or with a colostomy to support their bowel function as well as extensive scarring.

The patient's ability to work, travel and remain independent can be significantly impaired, necessitating alterations to their accommodation and support in everyday life.

Where the patient's ability to work has been compromised by their illness, their financial situation can also be imperilled.

Not surprisingly, the psychological effect of such a catalogue of possible effects can also be dramatic.

Where medical professionals are considered to have contributed in some way to this shocking outcome it might be appropriate to make a claim for compensation.

A successful compensation claim can help to alleviate the financial worries and provide a sense that justice has been done.

Speak to a solicitor

If you or a loved one are suffering from the appalling long-term impact of a necrotising fasciitis infection due to poor medical care, contact us to talk to a specialist medical negligence solicitor.

We have supported numerous clients in making successful claims for the effects of this terrible infection and will be very happy to advise you.

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

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