Septic arthritis is a bacterial infection that causes a severe inflammation in one or more of the joints, most commonly the hips or knees.
It is vital that a patient receives an early, accurate diagnosis and emergency treatment to help prevent the significant worsening of the condition. If a patient is left untreated, septic arthritis can quickly spread, causing permanent and severe joint damage which can result in the amputation of the affected limb. In some cases, septic arthritis can be life threatening.
Late or missed diagnosis
If you or member of you family believe that you have not been given the duty of care you were owed, talk to Your Legal Friend. We will consider your case fully and, if we believe that there are questions surrounding your treatment, we will investigate a medical negligence claim.
Our dedicated team of specialist solicitors has years of experience in successfully resolving many different types of clinical negligence cases. We can help you find out why things went wrong and, crucially, obtain the compensation you deserve to meet the cost of all necessary care, treatment, special equipment and support both now and in the future.
45% of septic arthritis sufferers are over 65 years old and are more likely to have multiple diseases. (Medscape from WebMD)
Other risk factors include:
The symptoms of septic arthritis usually develop rapidly including:
If an experienced doctor or GP suspects septic arthritis, they should immediately refer the patient to hospital for further examination and the following clinical tests:
Arthrocentesis – a surgical puncture of the joint using a needle and syringe to take a sample of the joint lubricant, known as synovial fluid.
The fluid is sent to a laboratory and analysed to determine:
In many cases the results of the above tests will be ‘normal’, so cannot be relied upon to rule out infection.
Blood tests - are also frequently used to make a white blood cell count and detect inflammation throughout the body.
Imaging tests - can sometimes be used to help confirm a diagnosis:
Septic arthritis must be urgently treated by admittance to hospital, usually for at least two weeks, to undergo a course of antibiotics to prevent the rapid spread of the infection. These antibiotics are directly injected into the veins. An orthopaedic surgeon may also drain the infected joint using a needle and syringe.
If the infection has reached an advanced stage, an emergency ‘surgical washout’ may be needed to preserve the joint and prevent further deterioration which could lead to the amputation of the affected limb.
Once the course of intravenous antibiotics is complete, further antibiotic tablets will need to be taken at home for at least another four weeks.
A complete recovery should be made although some people could still experience persistent limited movement in the affected joint.
If you or a member of your family suffered harm due to a medical error, you need to know why you were so badly let down by those entrusted to take care of you. For example,
To prove a successful clinical negligence claim
You need to:
Your Legal Friend is committed to ensuring that victims of clinical negligence obtain answers and that the hospital, health trust or medical practitioner is brought to account for the harm and suffering they have caused. Above all, we ensure that you receive appropriate compensation for your pain, suffering and loss of quality of life. If an amputation took place, your compensation will reflect the devastating, life changing impact that this has had.
Compensation should also restore your financial position before the negligence occurred, covering vital needs, such as: