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Rare disease from medicine cabinet claims young mother’s life

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Kalamazoo, Mich. – A Michigan family is sharing their story of a young mother who was struck down by a disease that many don’t know about.

24-year-old Cassandra Campbell’s family says she got the disease from some medicine she was taking for a bug bite, which spread quickly and took over her body, eventually killing her, according to Fox17.

The disease is called Stevens Johnson Syndrome or SJS. It’s an extremely rare disease that is most commonly caused by antibiotics like penicillin or Bactrim. It impacts less than 1 percent of the people who use them each year.

Cassandra died just three weeks after giving birth.

Cassie’s skin was essentially blistering, and falling off of her body. Doctors say once the disease starts, it’s treatable but not always curable. Even though the disease has been documented in literature for years, they are unsure what the singular ingredient in the medications is causing it. Essentially the tissue in her body was breaking down. In her final hours, doctors performed CPR on her three separate times.

“Then the doctors came up to me, and they just told me they were sorry and they couldn’t save her,” said her mother Cindy.


  • Christa Baker

    Hi, I can feel her family pain. My mother passed away from Steven Johnson disease when I was 13 years old in 1998. Its not new but it is a rare disease, I will keep ur family in my prayers!

  • Sean Holder

    This is so sad, my son almost died from this last year, he spend over a week at CHKD (Childrens Hosp. Kings Daughters) on morphine, I know and feel for what this family must be going through. They need to take Bactrim off the market. These drug companies don’t care because to them its all about profits.

  • Sean Holder

    I am sorry part of your story is off…the pharma companies know that the mixture of Bactrim is dangerous and if you do you online searches there are studies and papers about it. The local pharmacist isn’t going to know anything in regards to this. One of the main culprits is BACTRIM or similiar mixtures. Big pharma’s response is that there are not enough people dieing from this to even care. There needs to be more awareness of this reaction, if my wife wouldn’t have miss read the label and only gave my son one pill a day when he was actually prescribed two per day he would not be with us now. for over one week we went through hell not knowing if our son was going to pull through and live (or even what the long term effects are on his body). Bactrim is very dangerous and there are enough other antibiotics out there to be prescribed. My son had an ingrown tonail, then when his body reacted he got what looked like a bug bite on his leg (which was actually the starting of the SJS) and was misdiagnosed at first. Luckly two days later an ER doctor recognized his symptoms and we went straight to the children’s hospital, which they see around 4 plus cases a year. So this can be stopped but the pockets of big pharma are deep and they don’t care who has to die for their profits.

    • Denver George Land

      Yes, there must always be some bad guy like ‘Big Pharma’ and their evil profits. Profits that have been used to cure 99% of the diseases on the planet. No such thing as a simple tragedy anymore… we all have to have someone to sue. Antiboitics save millions of lives a year. Should we condemn those people to die from what ails them, so that we can save the 0.01% who have this reaction?

      Your son was saved. Thank God, or whoever else you want to thank, for that, get over yourself, and get on with your life. Stop looking for a bad guy to blame.

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