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Dartmouth Teen’s Near-Fatal Battle with SJS Has Two Happy Endings

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Dartmouth, MAAshlyn Conde’s Stevens Johnson Syndrome story is a story with a happy ending on several fronts. First and most important is the fact that Conde, a 17-year-old from Dartmouth Massachusetts, survived a near-fatal battle with SJS.

The second part to the happy ending is that Conde gets to walk across the stage for her high school graduation. Just as her survival was in doubt when her heart stopped in the hospital and doctors had to shock it back to life, her graduation was in doubt due to the time she missed from school while in the hospital fighting for her life.

Her battle for survival began with two Motrin tablets and a Stevens Johnson Syndrome rash, as most SJS cases do. Starting innocently enough with a revered medication parents give their kids for just about anything, Conde’s Stevens Johnson Syndrome symptoms soon escalated to the point where her life was in peril.

Stevens Johnson Syndrome is a rare condition characterized by blistering and the sloughing away of massive sheets of upper dermis (skin), akin to a serious burn. Most SJS patients, in fact, are treated in burn units at the hospital, due to the similarity of the injuries.

Stevens Johnson Syndrome skin disease is usually triggered by an allergic reaction to common medications - in this case, Motrin. No one knows why this happens. There have also been cases where individuals have used a medication successfully in the past, only to be devastated by a diagnosis and subsequent battle with SJS in association with a subsequent use of the same medication.

Plaintiffs filing lawsuits with Stevens Johnson Syndrome lawyers point to the fact that in many cases, there is no warning on medication labels that identify that SJS is a potential side effect. If there is reference at all, it’s often veiled in double-speak or generalized, with no mention of the potential for serious outcomes, even death.

Some people don’t survive Stevens Johnson Syndrome, and Conde almost didn’t make it.

At one point, her heart stopped

According to SouthCoastTODAY.com (5/31/14), Conde had an allergic reaction to Motrin after she was given two tablets for an undisclosed ailment. She was soon off to the hospital and spent 28 days battling the rare skin condition. At one point, according to reports, her heart stopped and had to be restarted medically. The 17-year-old is out of the hospital now (released May 5) but still requires two injections and three medications per day, indefinitely, following her battle with the SJS rash that turned deadly.

As for graduation, Conde was initially shut out from walking across the stage during grad proceedings due to time missed from school while fighting for her life in the hospital - getting behind in her studies too deeply to recover in time to acquire the necessary credits to graduate.

Her high school, citing protocol, determined that Conde could not participate in the proceedings, in spite of her battle with Stevens Johnson Syndrome.

In the end, Conde’s classmates and peers petitioned the school to allow her to participate anyway, unleashing such a storm of protest across social media platforms that the school had no choice but to reconsider.

Conde will now have the opportunity to walk across the stage with her peers during graduation proceedings at Dartmouth High School, in cap and gown, receiving a folder that will be devoid of an actual diploma. The latter will come later once she catches up on her studies and attains the necessary 28 credits to graduate. It was reported that a handful of other students, just shy of the credits needed to graduate, will also be allowed to participate in kind with Conde.

Some Stevens Johnson Syndrome stories have a happy ending. This one has two. Sadly, some SJS stories end in tragedy. It is not known if Conde’s family is considering legal action with the help of Stevens Johnson Syndrome lawyers, against the manufacturers of Motrin for the pain and suffering their daughter went through.

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