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Recently, a New York woman won a $120 million settlement against negligent medical personnel who, ultimately, failed to diagnose and treat her very serious case of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS). They prescribed an anti-seizure medication, which triggered an allergic reaction that developed into Sevens-Johnson Syndrome. As a result, she suffered significant brain damage and has been rendered incapacitated since the incident took place. She is only in her 30’s and will live with the consequences of her doctors’ negligence for the rest of her life.

This tragic case is just one such example of the dangerous condition that is Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. This severe, albeit rare, condition affects the skin and mucous membranes, usually as the result of an allergic reaction to a medication or an infection. When a doctor fails to diagnose and treat this serious syndrome, or if they prescribe medication to someone with a known allergy, the results can be excruciatingly painful and devastating.

Identifying Stevens-Johnson Syndrome

Symptoms of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome are relatively easy to identify, though they are rather generic, which is why so many doctors often fail to put the pieces together for an accurate diagnosis. Symptoms may include flu-like indicators, a purplish rash, blisters, painful shedding of the outer layers of the skin, and an overall pain or redness affecting all of the patient’s skin.

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a serious condition that typically requires hospitalization and the recovery period may take weeks or months, depending on the severity of the case. Though doctors may topically treat the condition, it is of the utmost importance that they also diagnose the patient accurately so that they can identify the medication or infection that caused Stevens-Johnson to develop in the first place.

Painful Side Effects

If untreated or improperly diagnosed, someone with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome may experience the following complications:

  • Secondary skin infection (cellulitis)
  • Sepsis
  • Eye inflammation
  • Respiratory failure
  • Lung conditions
  • Permanent skin damage and scarring

Preventing the Development of SJS

To avoid these serious side effects, doctors should be aware that certain conditions and factors might make some people more likely to develop Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. Those with HIV, autoimmune disorders, an HLA-B 1502 gene, or a family history of Stevens-Johnson are far more likely to develop the condition. Additionally, patients with certain allergies could have adverse reactions to doctor-prescribed antibiotics, which can trigger the development of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. Doctors should know about their patient’s allergies before they prescribe any medications, or their misjudgment could cause life-threatening damage. Even if the patient had no previously known allergies, any signs of an adverse reaction to prescribed medication should indicate the clear need for re-evaluation by the provider. If the doctor fails to act when an allergic reaction occurs, they could be liable for the resulting harm.

Do You Have a Case?

If you or someone you love developed Stevens-Johnson Syndrome as the result of an allergic reaction or infection, or if your doctor failed to diagnose or treat you, you may have a viable medical malpractice claim. Our team at Wagner Reese can review the details of your situation and help determine whether you have a valid claim. Medical staff members are responsible for upholding a certain standard of care, and if they fail to do so, you may be entitled to compensation.

Depending on your case, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, future medical expenses, loss of wages, pain and suffering, and more. If you think you have a case, we want to help you seek justice.

Contact Wagner Reese to discuss your potential Stevens-Johnson Syndrome claim with our experienced attorneys.