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Medical Malpractice, Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS), and Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Syndrome (TENS)

Overview of Stevens Johnson Syndrome

Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a severe medical condition that occurs as an allergic reaction to certain medications. The condition involves severe blistering the skin and the mucous membranes. The most affected areas are generally the mouth, ears, nose, and eyes.

SJS can be triggered as an allergic reaction to any of the following and more:

  • Antibiotics (including penicillin)
  • Anti-epileptics
  • Gout drugs
  • Methotrexate
  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatories
  • Sedatives
  • Sulfa drugs

Symptoms of SJS may include:

  • Blisters, rash or red splotches on the skin or around the mouth, ears, and nose
  • Swelling of the eyelids; red eye; and conjunctivitis
  • Flu-like symptoms, including fever and sore throat

The initial stages of SJS are sometimes referred to as "erythema multiforme." This is debatable, however, because the majority of erythema multiforme cases aren't as dangerous as SJS and aren't a result of an allergic reaction to meds.

Overview of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis

SJS escalates to Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis Syndrome (TENS) when the blistering covers more than 30% of the person's body.

TENS is a severe condition that may cause damage the lungs, kidneys, and liver. It is also life-threatening, with a fatality rate of approximately 30% resulting from complications including infection, sepsis, and respiratory distress. After treatment in intensive care and / or a burn unit, the recovery process for SJS or TENS may take weeks or even months.

Treatment of TENS may include:

  • Early withdrawal of culprit drugs causing the allergic reaction
  • Management in a burn unit or ICU
  • Supportive and nutritional management that may include administration of a nasogastric tube
  • Administration of intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG)

Medical Malpractice Resulting in SJS or TENS

Both SJS and TENS could be grounds for a medical malpractice lawsuit. If a doctor or nurse administers a medication to a patient when their record shows a known allergy to that medication, and that person develops SJS or TENS, then the party that administered the medication could be held liable.

Medical malpractice allegations could also arise if a patient is wrongfully diagnosed with a disease that he or she does not actually have, resulting in the administration of a medication that results in SJS or TENS due to an allergic reaction.

Even drug manufacturers can be held liable if they fail to property notify the public of a significant risk or higher incidence of SJS or TENS. This should be stated on the medication's label.

Consult a Medical Malpractice Attorney in Washington D.C.

The Law Offices of Dr. Michael M. Wilson, M.D., J.D. & Associates has litigated cases involving Stevens Johnson Syndrome to a successful conclusion. We are knowledgeable and experienced in this area and can help you fight for fair compensation after you or a loved one has suffered from SJS or TENS due to malpractice. Our firm can also fight for wrongful death compensation if you have lost a family member because of such negligence.

Contact us today at (202) 684-2889 for a free initial consultation!