1717 Case Study: Failure to Diagnose Necrotizing Fasciitis | Harry S. Cohen & Associates

Failure to Diagnose Necrotizing Fasciitis

Filed under Misdiagnosis

The Baier Case

A 50 year old wife and nurse noticed an unexplained boil on her inner thigh. She self-treated for several days with triple antibiotic creams and made an appointment with a physician’s assistant (PA) working with her primary care physician. The Certified PA identified the open wound as being deep and possibly infected and referred the patient to a surgeon. The surgeon saw the patient in his office on five (5) occasions and continued a conservative, passive treatment plan as the wound grew extremely deep, oozed a smelly drainage and the patient reported another open thigh wound that seemed to be connected to the first by a channel passing under the skin.

The patient finally went to the emergency room on her own initiative and was quickly diagnosed with a limb- and life-threatening infection commonly referred to as “flesh eating bacteria”, or necrotizing fasciitis. The patient was caused to undergo a massive IV infusion of antibiotics, ten (10) surgeries and multiple debridements to remove infected flesh from her groin, both thighs and abdomen, 30 hyperberic (iron lung) treatments, extended hospitalizations and suffered such loss of muscle tissue and atrophy of he lower extremities and abdominal muscles and tissue that she is totally, permanently disabled. She has groin, leg, thigh and abdominal scars, no groin or lower extremity sensation, cannot raise her legs to independently climb stairs or enter a car or bus, is incontinent of bladder, cannot use public accommodations without assistance and was medically terminated from her 30-year employment as a nurse.

The case settled during jury selection. The proceeds permitted the married couple to purchase a handicapped accessible home.

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