Case study Essay-

Robert, a 27 year old accountant, presented to an emergency department with an abscess to the middle third of his right thigh. Robert is normally fit and well, he takes no regular medications and smokes approximately 15 cigarettes per day. The abscess started five days ago and has been treated with oral antibiotics following consultation between Robert and his General Practitioner. The abscess has grown significantly larger and is exquisitely painful, causing Robert to walk with a limp. The surgical registrar has assessed Robert and notes that Robert has a large abscess to the right thigh, a fever and tachycardia. Robert’s vital signs, pre-operatively, are as follows:


T – 38.7 C

HR – 110 bpm

BP – 100/60 mmHg

RR – 22 bths/min

SpO2 – 97% room air

The surgical registrar diagnoses Robert with an abscess and decides to perform an incision and drainage. Surgery occurs and there is a safe surgical outcome. After one hour in recovery Robert is transferred to a surgical ward. On admission to the surgical ward Robert’s vital signs are as follows:


T – 37.3 C

HR – 85 bpm

BP – 115/63 mmHg

RR – 17 bths/min

SpO2 – 98% room air

The potential post-operative complications for Robert include the following:

  • Venous thromboembolism

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Pain

  • Haemorrhage

  • Surgical site infection

Choose one potential complication from the list above and critically discuss the nursing assessment and the nursing management (including any preventative measures) of this complication. In your discussion, draw upon and critique research evidence to identify current best practice.

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