Recognising Necrotising Fasciitis should prevent sepsis deaths | Fieldfisher
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Recognising Necrotising Fasciitis should prevent sepsis deaths

Jenny Urwin

Necrotising Fasciitis (NF), known as a 'flesh-eating illness' is a rare, serious bacterial infection, which can lead to sepsis affecting the whole body. If left undiagnosed and untreated, it is often fatal.

NHS England states that symptoms of NF can develop within hours or a few days, and include:

  • intense pain or loss of feeling near to a cut or wound
  • swelling of the skin around the affected area
  • flu-like symptoms, such as a high temperature, headache and tiredness
  • sudden confusion
  • black, purple or grey blotches or blisters near a cut or wound

In 2021, the Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust highlighted how NF is an emergency, and needs prompt recognition and immediate medical and surgical treatment for a favourable outcome. The Trust conducted an audit to highlight where quality of management could be improved to address mortality rates.

In July 2022, BBC News continued to raise awareness of NF to show there are an estimated one in 500 necrotising fasciitis cases in the UK each year, according to the British Association of Dermatologists.

Dr Marina Morgan, one of the UK's leading doctors in treating NF, said that learning about the rare condition will soon be part of the curriculum for junior doctors and medical students. She noted 'not enough' people know about necrotising fasciitis among the wider public.

Making clinicians aware of the risk factors and clinical signs of NF will avoid delays in diagnosing sepsis and will prevent loss of limb and life.

At Fieldfisher, Jenny Urwin secured £2.5 million in compensation following negligent treatment of Sepsis at North Manchester General Hospital leading to amputation. Without delays and with appropriate treatment, our client would have avoided amputation.  

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