Denver Stevens-Johnson Syndrome Lawyers
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a rare and life-threatening reaction to a prescription or over-the-counter medication. It affects your skin and your mucous membranes causing painful and serious symptoms. This syndrome is a serious medical emergency that could be fatal and may require hospitalization and intensive care. Victims of the syndrome often feel as if their insides are burning and the reaction can be catastrophic and even fatal. Your skin may peel off in sheets, leaving behind large scars after recovery. Inflammation of the mucous membranes in the genitals, mouth, nose, and eyes is evident by blisters and lesions that leave openings ripe for bacteria that easily spread throughout the body. Symptoms are often torturous and cause permanent damage to all parts of your body.
Have you or anyone in your family suffered from Stevens-Johnson Syndrome, otherwise known as Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN)? Where you or your loved one misdiagnosed and undertreated, resulting in permanent complications? If so, you may have a medical malpractice case. We at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. working with patients on their medical malpractice claims, fighting for their right to justice. Contact us today for a no charge initial consultation.
SJS may go by multiple names but the symptoms are unmistakable. They appear in phases, and the longer you go without proper treatment, the higher your chances of serious scarring or even death. The first symptoms you may notice are:
- Sore mouth and throat
These symptoms may just seem like the flu or common cold at first. It can be difficult to determine what exactly you are suffering from when you first show signs of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. However, as time goes on you will start to notice:
- Painful and irritated skin
- Reddish-purple rash
- Blisters around the nose, eyes, and genitals
If you have not been given proper medical assistance by the time these symptoms have begun to show, then you will likely begin to suffer even more, as the third phase of SJS presents itself as:
- Peeling of the skin
- Intense sensation of burning in the eyes
- Skin lesions
- Vision loss
The vision loss can often be permanent, and result in blindness if the syndrome is left untreated. At this point you are likely in incredible pain, and even after healing you may be left with extreme scarring. If you do not receive treatment, then you end up suffering:
- Organ failure
SJS requires immediate attention from medical professionals to control the unpredictable symptoms and further complications. Discovering the root cause of the problem is essential for your survival.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is usually caused by medications or infections. There are over two hundred commonly used medications that have been found to cause the reaction. On top of that, the chances of you developing the syndrome dramatically increase if you are immunocompromised. The most common at-risk medications include:
- Pain relivers
- Certain acne medications
- Gout medication
SJS has a mortality rate of 25%, making it incredibly dangerous. Those who are HIV positive, have a history of the syndrome in their family, or who have the gene HLA-B 1502 have an increased chance of developing the Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. If you have a Chinese, Southeast Asian, or Indian ancestry, you may also have an increased chance of a reaction. Even if you are part of the 75% who survive SJS, you will likely be left permanently disfigured or disabled.
When you first begin to show signs of SJS, it is imperative that your doctor acts to prevent any permanent complications. It is a healthcare professional’s duty to treat their patients with the utmost care and forethought. If they fail this duty, and you are left suffering, then they may be liable for your pain.
Despite the fact that two million Americans are diagnosed each year, the syndrome is still considered rare. In order to try and prevent SJS, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) places warning labels on all medications known to cause the reaction. However, these warnings can be hard to see, and they often blend in with the many other warnings already on the medication. That is why, if you suspect you may be at risk for developing Steven-Johnson Syndrome, you should question your doctor on the side effects of all medication they prescribe to you.
Unfortunately, the syndrome is often misdiagnosed by doctors due to its relative rarity. The reaction is then left untreated, mistreated, or undertreated. This can result in further complications. For example, the lesions, blisters and peeling skin can become infected which can cause further complications such as meningitis and sepsis, both of which are deadly. These added infections cause organ failure and death. Furthermore, you can end up suffering from blindness, lung failure, and permanent widespread skin damage as well as permanent hair loss.
Prevention would demand that you have knowledge of the medications that you are allergic to or may have reactions to. Unfortunately, you cannot possible know this information unless you take every medication known to cause it. You can't prevent the reaction, but if you know the symptoms then you can advocate for yourself and get treated immediately.
If you start reacting to any medications you are currently on or have recently started, stop immediately and contact a doctor. Genetic testing is a possible way to discover if you have the HLA-B 1502 gene, but because of the cost of the test and relative rarity of the reaction, it's not usually brought up or suggested by your doctor. Even worse, requesting the test may be seen as an elective procedure by an insurance company and they may refuse to pay for it. If you cannot afford the testing, do not assume you don’t have the gene. Always ere on the side of caution, especially since those without the HLA-B 1502 gene may still suffer from the syndrome.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome can leave you with high hospital costs and cause you to lose work hours and thus wages. That can lead to an inability to maintain your family's current lifestyle or any lifestyle at all. Unfortunately, it is difficult to prevent the syndrome, as the medical community is still unsure as to what exactly causes it. However, your doctor should act quickly when you begin to show symptoms in order to prevent any further complications or lasting damage. If they do not, and if you are left suffering as a result, you may have a medical malpractice case.
We at Leventhal Puga Braley P.C. are here to guide you through the process of the monetary recovery you deserve. We founded our firm in 1981 and our lawyers have been practicing for over forty years. Our effective, efficient, and caring team has intensive experience in bringing justice into the lives of many families in our Colorado communities. Contact us at either (303) 759-9945 or toll free at (877) 433-3906 to schedule your free initial consultation and we will discuss your situation. We are committed to your cause and compassionate about your plight. We desire to help you in any way we can.