Three year old Joel Greaves nearly lost his life after doctors misdiagnosed what turned out to be a deadly rare disease as chicken pox.
Mistaken for chicken pox
Doctors first diagnosed the toddler with chicken pox, after he developed a condition that caused his skin to swell and blister. However, after Joel was left fighting for his life on a ventilator, doctors realised that he was in fact suffering from the very rare and life threatening skin condition, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.
Stevens-Johnson Syndrome is normally a reaction to medication or an infection. Doctors believe that Joel developed the condition as an allergic reaction to medication he was being given for croup. He was admitted to a specialist burns unit where his blistered skin was wrapped in bandages and his breathing supported with a ventilator. Doctors told his mother to prepare for the worst, however he was released from hospital after nine weeks.
Speaking of the ordeal, after which Joel has had to learn to walk, talk and eat again, his mother Tammy said:
‘Joel had suffered from chicken pox and his first symptoms of Stevens-Johnson Syndrome were spots all over his body.
‘He had suffered from chicken pox once before and the symptoms were very similar so we thought it was unlikely he
would have it for a second time – but we had no idea what else it could be.
‘That was until his whole body started to blister and his eyes were swollen shut.
‘Doctors soon realised Joel was actually suffering from a life-threatening allergic reaction, not chicken pox and we were left terrified as they battled to save our little boy.
‘They had no idea if he was going to survive as one-in-five die from the condition but we just had to hope and pray he’d pull through.
‘Joel was unrecognisable as his body was so swollen and he had to undergo an eight hour operation to remove all the dead skin.’
Miss Greaves went on to say:
‘I couldn’t be more thankful to all the hospital staff that saved Joel’s life, he was allowed home on December 8 and has minimal scars thanks to expert surgeons.
‘Joel was one of the lucky ones but if this condition isn’t diagnosed and treated quickly enough it can be fatal.’
Stevens-Johnsons Syndrome Awareness UK
Joel and his family are now receiving support from Stevens-Johnsons Syndrome Awareness UK, a charity that helps support those affected & spread awareness of the condition.
Founder of SJS Awareness UK, Thermutis Nadier Lawson said:
‘I am pleased little Joel’s eyes were not affected and he is making a good recovery.
‘We support those affected by providing them with an information pack to enlighten them about the condition as well as putting them in touch with others.’
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Source: Mail Online