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Necrotising Fasciitis
Dishwater Fluid Necrotizing Fasciitis

Dishwater Fluid Necrotizing Fasciitis

'Dishwater' fluid is a sign of necrotising fasciitis. Read on to find out what dishwater fluid means and what action should be taken.

What is necrotising fasciitis?

Necrotising fasciitis is a bacterial infection of the soft tissues. It starts when certain types of bacteria get into the tissues, usually via a break in the skin. Once in the deep tissues they reproduce, releasing a toxin into the body that destroys the surrounding tissue, blood vessels and muscle.

What are the symptoms of necrotising fasciitis?

The infection will make the patient feel unwell with flu-like symptoms. The process of tissue death will be very painful, but there will be no visible cause for the pain. The tissue will also change colour as it begins to die, turning from dark red to purple/black. Pus-filled blisters can appear on the skin in the later stages.

What is dishwater fluid?

Dishwater fluid is also a sign of necrotising fasciitis. Nevertheless, the patient will not be able to see whether or not they have dishwater fluid, as it is only visible once the tissue has been cut open.

Dishwater fluid is when the fluid inside the tissues turns a grey, murky colour much like the colour of the water after you have finished washing the dishes. It happens because the tissue is dying, which is known medically as tissue necrosis.

Looking for dishwater fluid

If a patient presents with the characteristic symptoms of necrotising fasciitis, medical practitioners should organise exploratory surgery, where the tissue is cut open to look for evidence of tissue necrosis. The presence of dishwater fluid is a key indicator that a necrotising soft tissue infection is at play.

Exploratory surgery is needed on an emergency basis. That means that when a patient presents with necrotising fasciitis symptoms, he/she must be admitted to hospital straight away and exploratory surgery carried out within hours.

What should happen if dishwater fluid is found?

If dishwater fluid is discovered during exploratory surgery, the surgical team should proceed straight to debridement surgery, where all the infected tissue is cut away.

The patient will already be under general anaesthetic and treatment is needed immediately. Therefore the procedure should simply switch to a debridement, rather than be scheduled for another time, as this will ensure treatment is not delayed any further.

What happens if exploratory surgery is not performed?

The presence of dishwater sign is an obvious sign of necrotising fasciitis. The other symptoms of necrotising fasciitis are less clear, particularly in the early stages. The patient will feel unwell and have extreme pain in the tissue, but this could be attributed to other conditions such as cellulitis.

Thus exploratory surgery is essential to detect whether or not necrotic changes are occurring in the tissue. Without it, medical practitioners could mistake necrotising fasciitis for another condition, meaning the patient is given the wrong diagnosis and the wrong treatment. Their necrotising fasciitis may be correctly diagnosed at a later stage, but in the meantime the infection will have continued to spread to more and more tissue, and potentially even to the blood.

Consequently by the time debridement surgery is finally performed, the patient will have extensive necrosis and will be critically unwell. This would have been avoided with earlier exploratory surgery, as the debridement would have occurred there and then.

Why was exploratory surgery not performed?

If you or your loved one presented with the symptoms of necrotising fasciitis but doctors did not carry out exploratory surgery, there may have been a substandard level of care.

Medical practitioners should be concerned about a patient who presents with severe tissue pain which has no obvious cause. A blood test will reveal whether there is an infection inside the body, as there will be a raised number of white blood cells and raised levels of C-Reactive Protein.

These clinical indicators should raise concerns even further, leading to a suspected diagnosis of soft tissue infection. A soft tissue infection should be investigated with exploratory surgery, which should then result in debridement surgery. If there is a failure to achieve this standard of care, there may be a breach of duty on the part of the medical practitioners.

If a patient is harmed because of this substandard level of medical care, there could be grounds for a medical compensation claim.

How do I find out if I can claim compensation?

To find out if you can claim compensation for necrotising fasciitis, you need to speak to a solicitor who works in medical negligence also called clinical negligence in England and Wales.

The first step is to speak to a solicitor over the telephone, during which you will need to explain what has happened to you and the injuries you have been left with. If the claim relates to your loved one, you can provide this information on their behalf. At Glynns Solicitors we offer everyone a free initial consultation, so this discussion will not cost you anything.

Our solicitors will then consider your case and advise you of your options. If we believe there is a case of medical negligence, we will run the claim on your behalf, working to get the compensation you are legally entitled to. If the claim relates to a loved one who has passed away, you will be awarded compensation on behalf of their estate.

Funding a case

If you are told that you do have grounds to pursue a medical compensation claim, you will want to know how much a claim will cost. There are various funding options available, the most popular of which is a Conditional Fee Agreement (CFA), also known as a 'no win no fee' agreement. This ensures that you do not pay anything unless you win your claim.

We will take you through the different options before starting your claim. If you do not want to continue at that point, you do not have to.

Contact us today

To make a necrotising fasciitis medical negligence compensation claim enquiry, please get in touch with us today.

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

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