Yorkshire-based Negligence Claimline has discovered that misdiagnosis claims for sepsis have quadrupled in the last five years following a recent Freedom of Information (FOI) request to the NHSLA.
Just seven successful claims were made for misdiagnosis of sepsis in 2011/12 and this has increased to 27 in 2014/15.
Claims relating to misdiagnosis of sepsis cost over £6 million over the past five years.
This is in conjunction with a wide-spread lack of awareness about the true deadliness of the condition.
Most people do not know how deadly sepsis is, with four out of five wrongly believing the condition is less deadly than breast cancer, according to the latest research.
A survey by Negligence Claimline asked people to rate which disease they thought was responsible for the most deaths each year out of 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.
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.
On top of this, sepsis is getting worse in Western countries, with incidences doubling in the US along in the last ten years.
Sepsis 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.
Moreover, only 26% of people could identify three symptoms of the disease. When asked about the 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.
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.”