SJS Med Mal Lawsuit
Written by Faith Anderson on June 5, 2012
SJS Symptoms and Complications
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a dangerous skin condition that can be caused by an allergic reaction to numerous medications, including anti-seizure drugs. While the initial symptoms of SJS are minor and often mimic the flu, the symptoms quickly progress to a painful rash that spreads across the body and begins to blister. If the blistering is severe enough, the top layer of the patient’s skin may begin to die and shed from the body. When these skin lesions affect more than 30% of the body, the condition is usually referred to as toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN).
Both SJS and TEN are considered medical emergencies that require immediate treatment. Treatment for SJS and TEN typically involves in-patient care at a hospital’s intensive care unit (ICU) or burn unit, at which point doctors must attempt to identify and control the underlying cause of the condition. If SJS or TEN is caused by a pharmaceutical drug, use of the medication must be discontinued immediately. Unfortunately, treatment for SJS is only supportive and the patient’s body must be left to heal on its own. Depending on the extent of skin involvement, many instances of SJS and TEN are fatal.
Permanent Brain Damage Caused by SJS
Jacqueline Martin suffered swelling of the face, throat and eyes at first, and eventually sustained permanent brain damage caused by the SJS reaction. According to the complaint filed by Martin’s mother, she endured a month of inadequate medical care at the three New York facilities, which only exacerbated her condition. Following the trial, a jury found that Jacobi Medical Center was 50% responsible for Martin’s injuries, Kings County Hospital was 40% responsible, Brookdale University Hospital and Medical Center was 5% responsible, and Martin was 1% responsible. They jury awarded about $120 million in damages, which represents one of the largest medical malpractice verdicts in New York City history.
Medical Malpractice Lawsuits for SJS Reactions
While most SJS lawsuits have been brought against the manufacturers of drugs that contain insufficient warnings about the risk of developing the life-threatening skin reaction, a growing number of medical malpractice lawsuits over SJS reactions have been filed against healthcare providers and hospitals who fail to adequately recognize and diagnose the sometimes-fatal condition. If you have suffered from injuries caused by an SJS or TEN reaction to a pharmaceutical drug, contact an experienced SJS attorney to discuss your legal options. You may have grounds to file a drug injury lawsuit or medical malpractice lawsuit in order to pursue financial compensation for your injuries, medical bills, and pain and suffering.