Actually, worse. MyRacineCounty.com (7/23/16) reports that what Hannah suffered through was even worse than SJS: Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Syndrome (TENS), the more severe form of Stevens Johnson Syndrome. While SJS is rare, TENS is even more so. But when TENS hits, the outcome has been described as a nightmare.
SJS and TENS usually begin with a Stevens Johnson Syndrome rash, usually appearing soon after the use of a medication to which the patient appears to have an allergic reaction. Doxycycline is described by the World Health Organization as an essential medicine, and has been available since 1967. The Manche family could have no quarrel with a drug that had been around for so long.
And yet, following two doses of doxycycline, Hannah began presenting with Stevens Johnson syndrome symptoms. The rash quickly escalated to burns and blistering on both the outside, and inside her body.
Stevens Johnson Syndrome and TENS have been likened to the body burning from the inside out. Blisters form in mucous membranes, in the mouth and throat. The outer skin blisters and burns, coming off in sheaths. It’s common to treat SJS and TENS patients in burn units, as Stevens Johnson Syndrome skin disease is akin to serious burns resulting from fire, steam or extreme heat.
In Hannah’s case, according to MyRacineCounty.com, the 12-year-old lost all of her outer skin. She also suffered internal blistering. SJS can also affect the eyes; Hannah was left essentially blind for nearly a year.
“It was a nightmare when we were going through it,” said Hannah’s mother, Kathy, in comments published in MyRacineCounty.com. “First we were pleading, ‘please let her live.’ Then we were pleading, ‘please don’t make her blind.’”
Hannah lived. But she was, in spite of her family’s prayers and pleadings, essentially blinded for more than a year, able to see mostly shapes and colors as if peering through broken glass. Fortunately, the blindness has not turned out to be permanent. However, her vision is and never will be what it once was. The now-17-year-old is required to wear special contact lenses which allow her 20/30 vision.
Those lenses are important for another reason ??" the retention of saline solution, which is necessary to replace Hannah’s tears. Her eyes no longer produce them. “Like a small fire in your eye,” Hannah added in comments to MyRacineCounty.com, noting the pain rates an eight on a scale of one to 10.
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With her outer layer of dermis stripping off in sheaths, Hannah was wrapped in a biosynthetic second skin to aid in regrowth of her skin and to ward off infections.
Today, Hannah is 17 and readying for her senior year in high school. However, her bout with SJS means she will never be completely healthy again. She must live with the scarring. And she has been bullied, due to the change in her appearance.
Hannah takes it all in stride, thanks in part to a deep faith that leaves her with a belief that she remains beautiful, regardless of how others see her or choose to see her.
There is no indication if the family has been in contact with Stevens Johnson Syndrome lawyers, in order to pursue compensation.