By: 15 November 2016
Negligence claims for misdiagnosis of sepsis have quadrupled in last five years

Negligence claims relating to misdiagnosis of sepsis have quadrupled in the last five years, according to new research from Negligence Claimline.

Seven claims were made in 2011/12, this increased to 27 in 2014/15. Claims relating to misdiagnosis of the disease have cost over £6 million over the past five years.

The claims management company has also found that most people do not know how deadly sepsis is, with four out of five wrongly believing the condition is less deadly than breast cancer.

The illness is the UK’s second biggest killer, having overtaken lung cancer in 2015. Coronary heart disease is the most deadly condition causing almost 74,000 deaths per year.

Negligence Claimline asked people to rate which disease they thought was responsible for the most deaths each year out of sepsis, breast cancer, leukaemia, meningitis and pneumonia. Only one in five people correctly named sepsis as the biggest killer. A total of 25% placed breast cancer at the top of the list despite the fact that sepsis is three times as deadly as breast cancer.

Moreover, only 26% of people could identify three symptoms of the disease. When asked about three symptoms, over half of people wrongly identified them as signs of stroke, indicating a distinct lack of awareness about sepsis amongst the general population.

An estimated 37,000 people die each year in the UK due to the condition whereas only 11,433 die of breast cancer. The condition, which normally presents as blood poisoning, is triggered by infection or injury. Sepsis is getting worse in Western countries, with incidences doubling in the US along in the last ten years.

Victoria Cobley, marketing manager at Negligence Claimline, said: “Sepsis is a really serious condition, and can often be life threatening. This research showed us that more needs to be done to help people understand how dangerous sepsis is, and more importantly how to spot it.”