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Necrotising Fasciitis
GP Missed Necrotising Fasciitis

GP Missed Necrotising Fasciitis

Did your GP fail to spot the signs of a severe soft tissue infection such as necrotising fasciitis? If so, you could be entitled to pursue a claim for compensation.

Necrotising fasciitis

Necrotising fasciitis is a serious infection of the muscles, and all other soft tissues covering the body. It is a very rare infection. In the UK, it is estimated that there are only 500 new cases a year, for a population of over 60 million people. This means the average GP may never see a case of necrotising fasciitis in their whole career.

Necrotising fasciitis can affect any one of any age. However, it does occur most often in people with other known or unknown serious or chronic health problems. This includes anyone who has decreased power to fight infections for one reason or another.

In its early stages it can manifest itself with pains very similar to the more trivial injuries of the joints and muscles of the body. All this very often delays the correct diagnosis. Unfortunately it tends to worsen very quickly, which means extensive damage can take place in a very short interval of time.

Recognising necrotising fasciitis

Soft tissue infection is usually diagnosed by the presence of pain, redness and tenderness in an area of soft tissue. When the symptoms are severe and rapidly progressive, it is recognised as necrotising fasciitis.

When a patient presents with severe and unremitting soft tissue pain, an infective cause should be considered. Urgent blood tests will confirm whether an infection is present.

Depending upon the site of the pain, a GP may suspect another cause such as a broken bone or pulmonary embolism (if the pain is in the chest). The patient may then be sent for an x-ray.

However, the x-ray results will be negative, while the blood test results indicate infection. Consequently broad spectrum antibiotics should be prescribed with a review the following day, or if the patient is already very unwell, the patient should be sent straight to hospital.

Therefore established or strongly suspected soft tissue infection requires treatment with antibiotics and, if the pain is dramatic or constant, will require hospitalisation to limit the spread of bacteria.

GP missed my necrotising fasciitis

Due to the rarity of the condition, a GP would not be expected to diagnose early-stage necrotising fasciitis. But if the patient is displaying a high fever along with severe localised pain, then immediate admission to hospital is needed.

If a GP fails to make this referral, there could be a case of medical negligence. This failure may occur because a GP does not perform basic tests (such as temperature and bloods), fails to appreciate the signs of infection, fails to appreciate the rapid deterioration of the patient's condition, or fails to realise that hospital admission is needed.

f your GP did not refer you to hospital for a suspected soft tissue infection such as necrotising fasciitis, please contact us today to discuss making a compensation claim.

Legal advice

For more information on necrotizing fasciitis medical negligence, please get in touch with us today.

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