Stevens Johnson Syndrome Patient Stories

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Children Victimized by Stevens Johnson Syndrome

Although Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is typically associated with adults over the age of 40, it is not uncommon for the severe skin disease to affect children as young as three months old. The following account is of four year old girl who was victimized by Stevens Johnson Syndrome.

Stevens Johnson Syndrome is caused by a number of factors, one of which includes an adverse reaction to certain drugs. The young girl in question was given three doses of Children's Advil over the course of a week; a seemingly insignificant dosage of the over-the-counter children's medication. Less than a week later, the four year old girl died of complications resulting from Stevens Johnson Syndrome.

Stevens Johnson Syndrome, known to cause blindness, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and lung disease can be fatal if not treated in a timely manner (fatal in 3% to 15% of all SJS cases). When affecting children, Stevens Johnson Syndrome can be an even more aggressive disease.

The young girl was hospitalized immediately after displaying signs of the disease in 2003. She was diagnosed and treated at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch where she received treatment for burns that spread all over her body. Her pores had been so severely scarred that heat could not escape her body. Her eyes had been scarred to such an extent that they were virtually sealed shut, preventing doctors from administering drops in her eyes for moisture.

Hoping to provide her with the best possible Stevens Johnson Syndrome treatment available, the young girl was transferred to St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston where she spent five days. Over the course of the five days, she received numerous blood transfusions and was wrapped and rewrapped with a type of protective gauze (often used with burn victims) designed to avoid sticking to a patient's skin.

Although her condition was not improving, plans were made to begin the young girl on an extensive six-week rehabilitation program during which she would relearn how to go about functioning on her own again; she had been more or less immobile for five days. As it turned out, such forward-thinking was nothing more than sheer optimism. The girl's mother was soon informed that because her daughter's condition was continuing to rapidly deteriorate, she was not expected to live more than 48 hours.

Taken aback, the mother and her family could do little else except wait-out the young girl's remaining hours together. In order to spare her other children from experiencing the horrors of Stevens Johnson Syndrome, the mother had them record messages for their sister and played them for her daughter on her deathbed.

Rather than wallowing in her own despair, the mother of this young, victimized girl has taken it upon herself to do everything she can to help increase awareness of Stevens Johnson Syndrome and work towards successful treatment methods.

She has recently filed a wrongful death / negligence / defective design lawsuit against Wyeth Consumer Healthcare, the manufacturers of Children's Advil for their failure to adequately warn consumers about the effects of their over-the-counter drug. Thus far, the process of restitution has been altogether too slow.

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Last Revision: June 12, 2013