The family of a US girl who lost 90 per cent of her skin after suffering an allergic reaction to pain relief medication has been awarded $63 million in compensation.
Samantha Reckis was seven years old in 2003 when she took "Children's Motrin", a pain reliever manufactured by a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson, to treat symptoms of a fever, the New York Daily News reports.
But the Massachusetts girl had an extreme allergic reaction to the medication and developed toxic epidermal necrolysis, a skin disease which can be fatal.
She suffered kidney, liver and reproductive damage, went blind and lost 90 per cent of her skin.
After six months in hospital she left weighing only 14kg, but the family's lawyer Brad Henry said the girl's ordeal did not end there.
"When they finally were able to wean her off pain medications and take out the ventilation, within a couple of weeks she had a stroke because of the liver damage," he said.
"They had to drill through her head to relieve the pressure."
In a lawsuit filed six years ago against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, the family alleged the medication’s bottle was not clearly labelled with warnings of its risks.
But the pharmaceutical company defended the product as safe and appropriately labelled.
Toxic epidermal necrolysis is an extremely rare condition, but Mr Henry said that did not diminish the company’s responsibility.
"All we’re saying is that if parents are in a position to give a discretionary drug to their child, they should at least be given the option to know whether this is a good idea or not," he said.
Author: Sylvia Varnham O'Regan, Approving editor: Mark Worley