Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) is a horrible disease that afflicts about 300 people each year. The condition is poorly understood but it is believed to be caused by an immunological response to various medications, including the antibiotic Bactrim. The young patient will develop rapid progression of erythromatous lesions that can result in a burn-like state, scarring, sepsis, shock and death. Once a patient has the condition, there is little that can be done to stop it. But the question often arises: should the patient have gotten the condition in the first place? New evidence shows that over-prescription of antibiotics may contribute to avoidable cases of SJS.
A recent study published in the journal Pediatrics shows that many broad-spectrum antibiotics are overused by physicians in pediatric patients. Antibiotics are among the most frequently prescribed medication by pediatricians. Each year, more than 30 million prescriptions are written for children. Overuse of antibiotics by pediatric doctors contributes to development of antibiotic-resistant “super bugs” and avoidable adverse events like SJS.
The Pediatrics study found that antibiotics were frequently prescribed for conditions where the medicine is not effective such as nasopharyngitis, bronchitis, viral pneumonia and the flu. In this regard, antibiotics were given in 63% of visits for such acute respiratory tract infections. Overall 28% of the studied children improperly received prescriptions for broad-spectrum antibiotics for sinusitis, group A strep or pneumonia. When the pediatricians were confronted with their negligent prescribing habits, the rate of over-prescribing was cut in half but was still significant.
Under Ohio law, when a physician ignores recommended guidelines and over-prescribes antibiotics, they put their patients at risk. When an unnecessary prescription causes SJS, the results can be catastrophic. In such as case, it would be worthwhile to ask a qualified ohio medical malpractice attorney, who reviews cases involving children, to review your child’s records to see if medical negligence occurred.