Toddler nearly lost his life after he was misdiagnosed with chicken pox

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Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is a rare but life-threatening allergic reaction caused by certain medication or an infection

It first appeared as blisters all over Joel’s body. Tammy Greaves, Joel’s mother, was familiar with the symptoms. After all, she had seen it once before, when Joel had chicken pox months back.

When she took her son to the doctors, her hunch was validated when the doctors diagnose little Joel with the chicken pox. When his condition got worse, however, the doctors realised their mistake.

It wasn’t chicken pox; it was Steven Johns Syndrome.

What happened to Joel

Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a rare but life-threatening allergic reaction caused by certain medication or an infection.

It was believed that Joel’s reaction had stemmed from the medication he took four croup—an inflammation of the larynx, said reports from the Daily Mail.

The doctors put Joel in the intensive care for five days. SJS kills one-in-five people who have it, and so the doctors told Tammy to prepare for the worst.

“The doctors had no idea if he was going to survive,” Tammy recalled the heartbreaking moment. “But we just had to hope and pray he’d pull through.” After his transfer to a specialist burn unit, Joel was wrapped in bandages to help prevent infections and help his skin recover.

“Joel was unrecognisable as his body was so swollen and he had to undergo an eight-hour operation to remove all the dead skin.”

Thankfully Joel is among the lucky few who are able to pull through the syndrome and survive. After a grueling eight-hour operation, Joel, all bandaged up, was allowed to return home with his parents Tammy and Richard.

Toddler Nearly Died After Chicken Pox Misdiagnosis

Photo credit: Caters News Agency

The Greaves said they they had never heard of Steven Johns before, and now that it’s happened to them, they want to raise awareness to the disease.

“Joel was one of the lucky ones but if this condition isn’t diagnosed and treated quickly enough it can be fatal,” Tammy said.

What is SJS

According to Mayo Clinic, Stevens-Johnson Sydrome (SJS) is a rare disorder that starts with with flu-like symptoms. But soon they are followed by a painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters.

A form of Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis, SJS is a a reaction to a drug or an infection that can be lethal. Treatment focuses on addressing the underlying cause, controlling symptoms and minimising complications.

Recovery can take anywhere between weeks and months, depending on the severity of the syndrome.

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