Osteomyelitis: Infection Of The Bone


Osteomyelitis is an infection in the bone or bone marrow or inflammation of the bone that can be very severe and can be deadly if not treated promptly.  Bone can become infected when infections have traveled through the bloodstream, cellulitis or diabetic ulcers are ignored, or an infection has spread from nearby tissue.  This type of infection can also start in the bone itself when a person has suffered an injury that exposed the bone to germs.

Osteomyelitis can also result from medical malpractice by the doctor, orthopedic surgeon, or an attending physician.  It can occur as a complication of an injury or it can be caused by a complication or an error in surgery.  It is very important that the condition be properly diagnosed by the doctor in a timely manner.  If the condition is properly diagnosed it can usually be effectively treated.  The treatment required to stop the spread of infection and save the infected bone is aggressive.

This was once considered an incurable condition but it can now be successfully treated.  Surgery is often required to remove parts of the bone that has already died.  Then strong antibiotics are delivered, often intravenously, usually for at least six weeks.

Causes of Osteomyelitis include:

  • Injury such as a deep puncture wound or a broken bone that has broken the skin.
  • Surgery, bone or orthopedic, to repair bones and replace joints.
  • A bacterial or fungal infection caused by:
  • A pre-existing blood infection that spread to a bone
  • A bone fracture, an injury, or a complication of orthopedic surgery.

Once an infection has taken hold and if it is not treated vital blood supplies may be blocked and the bone die.


In order to diagnose osteomyelitis, the general practitioner or primary care physician will need to examine the body part affected for signs such as tenderness and swelling.  The doctor should take a medical history to determine whether there the patient has been in a recent accident, had an operation, or infection.  When diagnosed early, medication and surgery can be effective.  If not diagnosed and treated in a timely manner, the bone infection can be very difficult to treat.

Possible Complications

Possible complications of osteomyelitis include:

  • Recurring chronic osteomyelitis
  • Amputation

If you or a loved one has been injured because osteomyelitis or another bone infection was not diagnosed in time, was misdiagnosed, treated incorrectly, or was mishandled in any way, you may be the victim of medical malpractice and eligible for damages.  Contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney as soon as possible to evaluate your case.

But what do you think?  I would love to hear from you!  Leave a comment or I also welcome your phone call on my toll-free cell at 1-866-889-6882 or you can drop me an e-mail at jfisher@fishermalpracticelaw.com.  You are always welcome to request my FREE book, The Seven Deadly Mistakes of Malpractice Victims, at the home page of my website at www.protectingpatientrights.com.