WARNING: GRAPHIC PHOTOS BELOW
A 38-year-old Indiana man whose eyes had to be closed and his body covered in pigskin when he burned from the inside out due to a rare reaction to a medication is urging others diagnosed with the condition to “be brave.”
Jonathan Laird said he started three years ago with conjunctivitis and peeling skin, and that he went straight to the hospital once he developed blisters in his mouth and throat, according to Mirror.co.uk.
“My eyes began to feel that they had small pieces of glass in them, it was very uncomfortable and I was afraid to touch them or rub them because I literally felt like I was going to cut my eyes,” he told the media. . “I thought:” Is this Stevens-Johnson syndrome? “I can’t imagine that I really could have this, but is this what it is?”
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Laird’s suspicions were confirmed, and a doctor ordered him to stop taking Lamotrigine, which had been prescribed for depression. The drug is an antiepileptic and can be used to treat seizures and bipolar disorder. According to Drugs.com, patients who develop rashes, hives, blisters, peeling or sores in or around the mouth and eyes should receive emergency medical attention.
For Laird, the symptoms only got worse with the appearance of up to 50 mouth sores and a rash on the back and chest. He returned to the hospital and the next day was transferred to the Harbor View Medical Center in Seattle.
“When you have Stevens-Johnson syndrome (SJS) you basically burn inside out,” he said, according to the media. “It starts as a rash and then the rash explodes in blisters.”
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Patients diagnosed with SSJ are usually admitted to a hospital burn unit and require immediate treatment. While many cases are caused by an allergic reaction to medications, others may be the result of an infection or even vaccines. According to the Cleveland Clinic, about 10 percent of cases result in death, while those who survive may suffer from pneumonia, sepsis, shock or multiple organ failure. When Laird healed, his body was covered in wraps and he could not move.
“They sewed my eyes to protect my vision, they tied my hands so that I couldn’t tear out the tube that was in my throat,” he said.
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He spent almost two weeks in the ICU before being transferred back to the burn unit and spent several more weeks recovering before he could see, speak or eat again. He tried to communicate with his parents writing on paper.
“I said something like” Am I going to die? “Because I didn’t know it and that was really hard for them to read,” he told the media. “It just looked horrible, it looked like a plane crash.”