Saturday morning, Manute Bol, 47-year-old Sudan native, died at University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville where he was being treated for kidney failure and a painful skin condition known as Stevens – Johnson Syndrome (SJS). The 7-foot-7 basketball player was known for his humanitarian efforts in Sudan and will be greatly missed by all who benefited from his efforts. He was a hero to many.
Mr. Bol never stopped his humanitarian efforts even while he battled the kidney problems that eventually led him to suffer from SJS. In fact, he had just returned from several months in Sudan helping to build a school when he was admitted for treatment. Although he had been expected to return from Sudan sooner, he continued his stay even as his health deteriorated.
What Causes SJS?
It is believed that Manute acquired SJS from an antibiotic kidney medication. What many may find alarming is that this severe allergic reaction can also result from simple over the counter pain medications like Tylenol and Motrin. Some anticonvulsant and HIV medications may also cause the reaction. The following medications are under scrutinization for a connection to SJS:
- Ibuprofen (Advil)
- Acetaminophen (Tylenol)
This incurable and sometimes fatal allergic reaction causes the sufferer to form lesions on skin and mucous membranes with painful rashes and swelling. Airways may become restricted or blocked. Large patches of skin will fall away leaving painful blisters and eventual scarring. Immediate hospitalization is required to treat patients for the extreme pain caused by the blisters.
Every year, almost 100,000 die from Stevens-Johnson syndrome, representing about 15% of patients. Sufferers first experience flu-like symptoms, then develop a painful red or purplish rash. The rash spreads to many parts of the body, especially the mucous membranes. The top layer of skin dies and falls away, leaving severe painful blisters behind. It is vital to find out what medication caused the reaction. Even when the course of the disease stalls, the patient may not recover for weeks or months. Patients may lose 10% of the skin on their bodies and may suffer permanent blindness.
Treatment for SJS
Treatment for SJS is palliative since no treatments have been found that can stop the blisters from spreading. Doctors may apply topical pain medications to make patients more comfortable. Nothing can be done to prevent blindness if the blisters form on the mucous membranes in the eyes.
If you or a loved one has Stevens – Johnson Syndrome, it could be from a serious drug reaction. Drug manufacturers should inform patients about possible side effects, yet no warnings exist for SJS. To find out if you may receive compensation to pay for medical expenses and the severe debilitating pain and scarring caused by SJS, contact our office immediately for a free evaluation and comprehensive analysis of your case.