Most parents think it's safe to give their children over-the-counter medication when they're sick, but what happens when the drug has a life-threatening consequence? Unfortunately, The Reckis family of Massachusetts got the scare of a lifetime ten years ago when their then 7-year-old daughter, Samantha, experienced a rare side effect from taking Children's Motrin that caused her to shockingly lose 90 percent of the top layer of her skin and to go blind.

Samantha's parents sued the manufacturing company of the drug, Johnson & Johnson, for $63 million dollars, and its subsidiary, McNeil-PPC, Inc in 2007. The Plymouth superior court recently declared that the companies had to pay $109 million dollars plus taxes to the Reckis' for the damage caused to Samantha.

I was absolutely horrified to learn about what happened to this poor girl who took medicine that should have made her feel better. I can't fathom how she or her parents feel after she contracted this life-threatening condition.

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According to the Reckis' attorney, Brad Henry, when Samantha was 7, her parents were trying to relieve a fever she had by giving her the Children's Motrin. As a result, she experienced a rare side effect called toxic epidermal necrolysis which can cause a deadly skin disease that aggravates the mucus membranes and eyes and is presented by a rash that burns off the outer layer of skin. In Samantha's case, the majority of her system became inflamed forcing doctors to put her into a coma. She also lost 90 percent of her skin and became blind. To make matters EVEN worse, she experienced brain damage which caused short-term memory loss and her respiratory system was affected only giving her 20 percent lung capacity.

When the Reckis filed the lawsuit 5 years ago, they blamed Motrin for causing Samantha to go blind and claimed that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers that the drug could cause life-threatening reactions. The company denies the allegations and says that the medicine is labeled properly even warning of possible allergic side effects.

Johnson & Johnson and McNeil-PPC Inc were finally deemed at fault during trial,and are now expected to pay up to the Reckis family $109 million dollars. However, Johnson & Johnson disagreed with the outcome and plans on appealing the verdict.

It's upsetting that the manufacturing company won't take responsibility for this horrific situation that has altered this girl's life permanently. They should pay up for all the pain and suffering the teen and her parents endured after the allergic reaction mishap. Samantha can't get her health back but at least money can be regained even after a huge lawsuit like this one. I'm sure this heartbreaking case will make parents more wary about the medications they give their kids and pay closer attention to strange bodily reactions.

Image via Patriot Ledger

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About the author

Giselle Castro is the Editorial Assistant at Mamás Latinas. She loves anything involving film, fitness, nutrition, social media and catching up on the latest entertainment news.

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Add Comment Do you think the pharmaceutical company is to blame in this case?

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It's called Steven Johson syndrome. I learned about this the hard way when my son 13 mths old at the time developed blisters all over his body. I gave him Motrin to control the fever ( he was growing his first teeth). IBUPROPHEN is the main ingredient of this medication and there's NO WARNINGS on the label regarding to this possible allegirc reaction. pediatricians also fail to warn parents about this risk and prescribe MOTRIN over Tylenol (Actaminophen) because MOTRIN acts faster when it come s to reducing fever. My son it's lucky to be alive and well. After such a horrific experience, I'm not shy to share my story, specially with new parents. There should be a campaing to warn people. No child should suffer and live with the consecuences of negligence of greedy pharmasudical companies, lame pediatricians and unaware parents.
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