It is not easy to share your story. Especially when it is a tragic one. People will judge you, and they will look at you differently. But that is exactly what Khaliah Shaw did. She did not want anyone else to fall victim to a troublesome medication that left her scarred for life. She was studying at Georgia when the doctors prescribed her an anti-seizure medication. She was suffering from bipolar disorder and needed the FDA-approved medication known as Lamotrigine. Just weeks after using the medications, 90% of her skin melted and fall off. Her life changed, and she was left with a scar to remind her of her tragedy.
How did everything start?
Khaliah was a public health graduate student at Georgia College. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, and the doctors prescribed her the medication. One month after taking the drugs, she developed a rash on her face. Her lips started to peel off. She went to visit the doctor, and she was diagnosed with the flu. However, only two days later, she woke up in excruciating pain. She had skin melting off her body on her neck, on her chest, and on her back. Her mouth was covered in blisters.
She returned to the ER, and she was put into a medically-induced coma. They tried to manage her pain. However, what followed was her skin melted off, she began losing her sight, and her hair fell out. She was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. That is a rare and potentially fatal disorder. The Stevens-Johnson syndrome is caused by a reaction to a medication. She was given a wrong dosage, so the syndrome hit her. It was a life-changing error that nobody caught. Neither her pharmacist, neither her doctor were able to anticipate what could have happened.
Five weeks later, she woke up from the coma and found out she was breathing from a tracheotomy. She could not see. She lost her hair and her fingernails.
What she does now?
Khaliah was a victim of a drug. The drug that put her in the hospital is the generic form of the drug Lamictal. The drug is approved in the USA by the FDA for a treatment of bipolar disorder and seizures.
Khaliah decided to get her justice at court, suing GlaxoSmithKline for promoting the product without warning about the possible and dangerous side effects. Five years ago, the company had to pay $3 billion in a lawsuit for failure to report side effects and risks of the drug. Khaliah is confident “that did not have to happen”. She believes her tragedy is a result of somebody’s error. She uses her tragic story to share awareness about the Stevens-Johnson syndrome on her blog.