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Necrotising Fasciitis
Why Did I Get Necrotising Fasciitis?

Why Did I Get Necrotising Fasciitis?

If you have suffered the shocking effects of necrotising fasciitis, you may well be wondering how you contracted such a destructive condition and whether your outcome could have been better.

Necrotising fasciitis is a virulent and complex illness. It can be caused by a variety of bacteria and its method of entry into the body is not always obvious. Indeed, sometimes, it never becomes clear how the patient acquired the illness.

It is a quick-spreading infection that rapidly destroys the deep tissue of the body, threatening the fundamental organs of the body and killing the patient within a few days if left untreated. Such is the damage it can cause that the only effective treatment against it is in itself destructive to the body.

What causes necrotising fasciitis?

Necrotising fasciitis is caused by one of a number of types of bacteria which are relatively benign when outside the body. The problems begin when those bacteria find their way into the deep, soft tissue of the body. This might occur in a number of ways:

  • The patient may have an external wound, such as a cut, a bite or an injury which may allow the bacteria to enter the body
  • The patient may have recently undergone surgery such as a hernia repair, bowel surgery, gallbladder removal or appendectomy, which enabled the bacteria to gain access into the body
  • The patient may have suffered an internal medical problem such as a perforated appendix or a perforated diverticulitis or perforated bowel
  • Pressure sores can also lead to the development of necrotising fasciitis

Risk Factors

It is also possible that you are more likely to develop necrotising fasciitis than some other people. There are known to be a number of factors that make some people susceptible to the condition. These include the following:

  • Having diabetes
  • Having a weakened immune system due to an existing condition or existing treatment such as chemotherapy
  • Being obese
  • Having liver cirrhosis or alcohol dependency

However, having any of the above conditions is not an indicator that someone will develop necrotising fasciitis and the illness can occur in otherwise healthy people. Additionally, although older people are more likely to get the disease, young people can also contract it.

Treating necrotising fasciitis

Whatever the cause, the most important factor in increasing the patient's chances of survival from necrotising fasciitis is the speed of diagnosis and treatment. The condition has a very high mortality rate even with treatment and it is recognised that the sooner a patient begins treatment, the better their outcome is likely to be.

Treatment of necrotising fasciitis usually involves immediate intravenous antibiotics plus surgical removal (debridement) of all the tissue which has already been affected. The removal of dead tissue needs to be comprehensive in order to prevent further spread of the disease and, if necessary, the patient may require additional surgical procedures to achieve this end.

Long-term outcomes

As indicated above, not only can the damage caused by necrotising fasciitis be hugely destructive, but the treatment can cause further dramatic disability to the patient, even to the point of amputation of a limb.

It is clear, therefore, that delayed diagnosis and treatment of the condition can lead to a significantly poorer outcome.

Seeking Legal Advice

If you or a loved one have suffered the appalling effects of necrotising fasciitis which ought to have been diagnosed and treated at an earlier stage, you may be wondering if you are entitled to make a claim for compensation.

Glynns Solicitors is a specialist medical negligence practice with considerable experience in supporting claims for necrotising fasciitis. We will be happy to discuss your situation with you and assess whether a compensation claim might be successful.

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

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