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Necrotising Fasciitis
What Caused My Necrotising Fasciitis?

What Caused My Necrotising Fasciitis?

Necrotising fasciitis can cause devastating damage to its victims. It is a rare condition and you would be extremely unlucky to contract it. But if you did, why did it happen and what should have been done to help you?

What is necrotising fasciitis?

Necrotising fasciitis is a fast-moving, bacterial infection which invades the deep, soft tissue of the body and spreads through the connective tissue layers, releasing toxins that destroy the tissue they encounter.

What causes necrotising fasciitis?

Necrotising fasciitis can be caused by a variety of bacteria, sometimes by a combination of bacteria, and is often classified accordingly.

It is frequently associated with the Group A streptococcus (GAS) pathogen or other streptococcal variants, as well as enterobacteriaceae such as E coli and Klebsiella. The Haemophilus aphrophilus bactrerium is also sometimes linked with the condition.

In some parts of the world, it is associated with the marine Vibrio bacterium, but this is rare in Europe.

The mere presence of Group A streptococcal bacteria alone will not cause necrotising fasciitis. These bacteria can exist on the skin or in the throat without causing any illness, or producing more minor ailments such as tonsillitis, sinusitis and impetigo.

However, where the bacteria reach the deeper layers of the body's tissue, the impact can be devastating, with the possibility to cause pneumonia, meningitis, sepsis and necrotising fasciitis.

How did I get necrotising fasciitis?

Necrotising fasciitis is not contagious. One person cannot pass it to another as one might a cold, but it is possible for the bacteria to move from person to person.

In order to acquire necrotising fasciitis, the bacteria must find a way of accessing the deep tissue layers. This would generally happen through a cut or break to the skin. This may occur via a number of routes such as:

  • A surgical wound (and for this reason necrotising fasciitis may develop in patients who are already in hospital)
  • A cut or graze
  • An insect bite
  • An injection puncture

However, occasionally, no obvious entry point is evident. <'/

Contributing factors

It may be that you had pre-existing circumstances which increased the likelihood that you would succumb to the necrotising fasciitis bacteria. Factors which have been identified as possibly linked to necrotising fasciitis are:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Cirrhosis of the liver or alcohol abuse

Was your treatment appropriate?

Urgent recognition and treatment of necrotising fasciitis is fundamental to improving the chances of a positive outcome. If necrotising fasciitis is suspected in a patient, emergency treatment with broad-spectrum intravenous antibiotics is necessary.

Absolute confirmation of diagnosis may require surgical investigation but, in any event, surgical removal (debridement) of all affected tissue is necessary to try to prevent the spread of the disease. This may require a number of surgical interventions before the disease is stopped. It has been suggested that debridement within 24 hours of onset of symptoms is preferable to increase survival chances.

Ultimately, necrotising fasciitis can lead to multiple organ failure and death. Occasionally, to try to prevent this catastrophic outcome, the patient may even require the amputation of a limb to stop the disease from spreading further.

Due to its rarity and similarity to other conditions, such as cellulitis, necrotising fasciitis can be difficult to diagnose, but urgent further investigations and a second opinion should be sought where there is any doubt.

Medical Negligence

If diagnosis and treatment were delayed and you have suffered the awful impact of necrotising fasciitis as a result, you may be entitled to make a claim for compensation for your injuries and on-going effects.

Contact us at Glynns Solicitors to discuss your circumstances. We are specialists in medical negligence with considerable experience of necrotising fasciitis cases.

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

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