Stevens Johnson Syndrome is a rare allergic reaction to medication. Although it is not known what causes the allergic reaction - a reaction that can occur even when taking medication the patient has already successfully taken - some experts believe there is a genetic component that determines who will develop SJS. That said, it could be nearly impossible for patients to know ahead of time that taking a simple medication might result in a fight for their life.
One such patient was Levi Gutierrez, whose story is highlighted by KENS 5 Eyewitness News (2/10/15). Levi was given a new medication to control his seizures, but quickly developed serious problems, including peeling skin and organ failure. In all, he lost approximately 85 percent of his skin and spent six months in the hospital. He was declared legally blind and has had 21 surgeries, including 12 on his eyes, in the three years since the then eight-year-old was diagnosed with SJS.
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Like Levi, Khaliah survived her ordeal but suffered damage that will likely affect her for the rest of her life.
Although Stevens Johnson Syndrome is rare, lawsuits have been filed against companies that manufacture some of the drugs linked to the condition, alleging the companies did not adequately warn patients about the risks associated with using the drugs. Some of those lawsuits have resulted in awards to the patients.