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Johnson & Johnson has awarded Samantha Reckis and her family $63 million after her life was threatened due to a drug reaction in which she lost most of her skin a decade ago.
In 2003, Samantha, then seven, was given Motrin brand ibuprofen to reduce a fever. This resulted in a rare side effect known as toxic epidermal necrolysis- a fatal skin disease that inflames the mucus membrane and eyes and is marked by a rash that burns the outer layer of skin, as stated by the Associated Press.
Samantha Reckis lost 90 percent of her skin, and was blinded. In addition to this, she suffered temporary brain damage, and a respiratory disease that has left her with a just 20 percent lung capacity.
Physicians were dumbfounded as the disease inflamed Samantha’s throat, mouth, eyes, esophagus, intestinal tract, respiratory system and reproductive system, which then left putting Samantha into a medically induced coma as the only option.
Dr. Robert Sundel, director of rheumatology at Children’s Hospital, said toxic epidermal necrolysis, also known as TENS, is the most severe form of Stevens Johnson Syndrome, which can be caused by viruses, and vaccines, as well as other medications states Boston.com.
Sundel has stated that the disease is so rare that there are only about three hundred cases per year in the United States. Also, Stevens Johnson Syndrome is caused by fewer than 1 in 1 million patients who take drugs like ibuprofen that are a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory.
Still, not much is known about the disease, or what causes such fatal reactions in some patients.
“It’s a recognized phenomenon,” said Sundel, “but not an understood one.”