The Estate of a deceased nursing home patient has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the facility where she died and other parties who allegedly contributed to her death. The crux of the lawsuit alleges that the staff and physicians at the nursing home failed to note the woman’s allergy to medications containing Sulfonamide, a common ingredient in antibiotic medications such as Bactrim.
After the the staff at the nursing home began administering Bactrim, the woman began to experience a severe reaction on her skin. According to the lawsuit,
“the plaintiff’s decedent sustained a severe reaction to the administration of Bactrim, D.S., she developed multiple large open areas in the skin over large portions of her body, portions of her skin sloughed off; the skin over her entire body became ‘tented’ and she developed red blistering over the back of her neck and back and she developed toxic epidermal necroysis, causing her skin to slough off, she lost 55% of her active skin, she had a positive Nikolsky sign, she had whole body erythema, lesions, blistering and sloughing”
The lawsuit has been filed against 17 different defendants, including Atrium Health Care and Rehabilitation Center in St. Clair County Circuit Court (Illinois). The lawsuit seeks $1.9 million.
Toxic epidermal necroysis following the administration of Bactrim?
Sounds like this woman was suffering the effects of Stevens Johnson Syndrome. Stevens-Johnson Syndrome (“SJS”) is a systemic disorder that affects the skin and mucous membranes, usually caused by a severe drug reaction.
SJS often begins with flu-like symptoms (fever, sore throat, cough, burning eyes), then progresses to red or purple rashes and blisters (photos), especially around the mouth, nose, eyes. These symptoms eventually lead to skin sloughing (the shedding of the top layer of skin) because of cell death. Some patients with extreme cases of SJS appear as though they were severely burned due to the extensive skin loss.
Although at least from the allegations in the complaint, this facility failed to note this woman’s allergies, I’m sure they also failed to monitor the severe skin reaction and notify the woman’s physician about the change in her condition.
Read more about this wrongful death lawsuit here.