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Gangrene in Children


Gangrene most commonly affects your child's hand, fingers, arm, foot, toes, or leg. In children, gangrene is most often caused by a bacterial infection. Gangrene is a life-threatening condition that needs immediate treatment. Gangrene is most often treated with surgery to remove the dead tissue.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that your child may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your child's medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done to your child. Make sure all of your questions are answered.

Emotional support:

Stay with your child for comfort and support as often as possible while he is in the hospital. Ask another family member or someone close to the family to stay with your child when you cannot be there. Bring items from home that will comfort your child, such as a favorite blanket or toy.


Your child's heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing will be monitored closely. Your child's intake and output will be measured. Healthcare providers will keep track of the amount of liquid your child is getting. They also may need to know how much your child is urinating. Ask your child's healthcare provider if you need to save your child's diapers. Your child may need a Foley catheter to help measure his or her urine. A Foley catheter is a tube that is put into your child's bladder to drain urine.


  • Antibiotics help treat an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine may be given. Do not wait until your child's pain is severe before you ask for more medicine.
  • Acetaminophen decreases pain and fever.


  • Blood and urine tests may be done to check for infection, blood cell levels, and kidney function.
  • X-ray, ultrasound, or CT pictures may be done to check for damage to deeper tissues. Your child may be given contrast liquid to help the tissues show up better in pictures. Tell a healthcare provider if your child has ever had an allergic reaction to contrast liquid.


  • Hyperbaric oxygen (HBO) therapy is used to increase oxygen to your child's tissues. This will help him or her heal faster and prevent the infection from getting worse. The oxygen is given under pressure inside of a tube-like chamber called a hyperbaric or pressure chamber. Your child may need to have this therapy more than once.
  • Surgery is needed to remove the dead tissue.


The infection may spread to the rest of your child's body. This may lead to shock or a coma. Shock is a condition that causes your child's organs to stop working correctly.


You have the right to help plan your child's care. Learn about your child's health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your child's healthcare providers to decide what care you want for your child.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Learn more about Gangrene in Children (Inpatient Care)

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.