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Stevens Johnson Syndrome Lawsuit Nets Record Award

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New York, NYA Stevens Johnson syndrome lawsuit, alleging malpractice on the part of various New York hospitals, has resulted in a record award to the plaintiff. Although the case did not involve Zithromax Stevens Johnson syndrome, it did question how hospitals treat patients when they develop the condition. Not much is known about whether Zithromax side effects include a risk of Zithromax SJS, although one study suggests that at least two patients developed SJS after using the medication.

According to The New York Times (5/25/12), Jacqueline Martin was awarded approximately $120 million in her lawsuit against three hospitals. The Times reports that Martin suffered brain damage after she was treated by the hospitals in 2004. An attorney for Martin said the hospitals did not respond properly to the patient's health care crises and did not provide necessary treatment. Martin had initially sought treatment for seizures, but developed an allergic reaction to the anti-seizure medication and was finally diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Martin reportedly now suffers brain damage as a result of her ordeal.

The verdict found Jacobi Medical Center 50 percent responsible for Martin's condition, Kings County Hospital Center 40 percent responsible, and Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center—along with one of its neurologists—nine percent responsible. Martin was found one percent responsible. The city has said it plans to appeal the award.

Stevens Johnson syndrome is a severe allergic reaction to medication that involves blistering of the patient's skin and often the loss of large portions of the skin and hair. The patient's mucous membranes and internal organs can also be affected. Stevens Johnson syndrome, and its more severe form, Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, can be fatal. Patients who survive their ordeal may suffer permanent injury, including vision problems, scarring, photosensitivity and brain damage.

In a separate lawsuit, a federal appeals court ruled that generic drug manufacturers could not use federal law to defend against personal injury lawsuits. According to Reuters (5/4/12), Karen Bartlett suffered Stevens Johnson syndrome after using generic sulindac. She developed burns on two-thirds of her body and is now nearly blind. Bartlett was awarded $21 million in her lawsuit against the maker of the generic sulindac. The drugmaker said the lawsuit should be barred because the drug was approved by the FDA and because the generic drug was required to have the same design as the brand name drug. A federal appeals court upheld the $21 million award.

Stevens Johnson syndrome is more commonly associated with ibuprofen, dilantin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It is not as commonly linked to Zithromax, although a report fund at the National Center for Biotechnology Information suggests that at least two patients have developed Stevens Johnson syndrome after using Zithromax. These include a child and a 62-year-old woman. Both patients reportedly recovered.

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