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Shelley asked...

Nasty looking open sore

My husband has a nasty looking open sore on his leg by the ankle. The doctor gave him antibiotics but it is not healing. The nurse has been dressing it but it is not getting better. Who can he see?

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The answer

We would suggest that you return to your GP primarily. Any further referrals or tests can only be performed by him. You do not mention how long your husband has been taking antibiotics for or their name; if he has not already done so, I would suggest that you request your G.P. to take a swab of the wound, to analyse which bacteria the wound is infected by. Leg wounds can be infected (colonised) by different bacteria at the same time, so it can take time to find the most appropriate antibiotic for the wound.

In between Nurse dressing changes, it is important to ensure that the dressing does not get wet or displaced. Has the GP advised your husband on pain relief? Leg wounds or ulcers can be extremely painful due to exposure of the nerves to air contact and regular analgesia would reduce the discomfort.

We would also suggest that you ask your G.P. to refer your husband to a Wound/Tissue Viability Clinic; this is a specialist NHS clinic that assesses, treats and monitors wounds, especially leg wounds. The Nurses there are specially trained Tissue Viability/ Dermatology Nurses who have knowledge and access to specialist dressings that can only be prescribed, they can also prescribe any further antibiotics, creams or other medications you may need. The wound clinic may have Diabetic wound Nurses, if your husband is a Diabetic, as Diabetic ulcers need specialist treatment and can deteriorate quicker than other wounds.

Answered by the Health at Hand nurses

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