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Necrotising Fasciitis
Necrotising Fasciitis Fournier's Gangrene

Necrotising Fasciitis Fournier's Gangrene

Necrotising fasciitis and Fournier's gangrene are caused by the same bacterial infection. The only difference is that Fournier's gangrene refers specifically to necrotising fasciitis in the male genitalia.

Necrotising fasciitis

Necrotising fasciitis is a bacterial infection of the fascia (connective tissues) and subcutaneous (deep) tissues. It causes the tissue to die. Intravenous antibiotics and debridement surgery are needed to halt the progress of tissue death. Without treatment, tissue death will continue and the patient will be left with a gaping wound. The bacteria can also spread to the bloodstream, prompting a potentially fatal called sepsis.

Fournier's gangrene

Fournier's gangrene is a form of necrotising fasciitis. It is the same infection, but it occurs specifically in the male genitalia including the scrotum, perineum, penis and testicles. Usually it arises after some form of genital trauma, such as a vasectomy, circumcision, penile fracture or a scratch. It will cause tissue death around the genitals and emergency treatment is needed to save the genital structures.

Why does Fournier's gangrene have a different name?

Therefore necrotising fasciitis and Fournier's gangrene are the same thing. It's just that when necrotising fasciitis appears in the male genitalia, it is called Fournier's gangrene.

There is a different name for Fournier's gangrene because the term actually pre-dates the term 'necrotising fasciitis'. In 1883, French scientist Jean-Alfred Fournier studied men who developed gangrene in their genitals. His work led to the condition being named 'Fournier's gangrene'.

It was not until 1952 that a scientist called Wilson coined the phrase 'necrotising fasciitis' to describe the condition that we know today. The name Fournier's gangrene remained in use, despite the fact the two conditions have the same underlying cause.

Delayed treatment of Fournier's gangrene

If Fournier's gangrene is not treated quickly enough, it can result in a severe deformity in the genitalia. This can adversely affect sexual and urinary function. It can also make the patient critically unwell with sepsis and organ failure. If a patient does survive, there can be devastating physical and psychological injuries to deal with.

If the treatment of Fournier's gangrene is delayed and medical practitioners are to blame, the patient could be entitled to claim compensation for their injuries. This is because the outcome could have been much better with earlier medical treatment.

Speak to a legal expert

To find out more about claiming compensation for necrotising fasciitis or Fournier's gangrene, please contact our team at Glynns Solicitors.

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