The Hidden Dangers of Vague Warning Labels: Did You Know a Few Spoonfuls of Children’s Motrin Cause Stevens-Johnson Syndrome?

In April of 2015, the highest court in Massachusetts ruled that a $63 million dollar judgment for breach of warranty, negligence, loss of consortium and pain and suffering will be awarded to Samantha Reckis and her family following an appeal against McNeil PPC and Johnson and Johnson, manufacturers of Children’s Motrin. Poor little Samantha Reckis’ story is a tragic one.

In 2003, when Samantha was just 6 years old, Richard Reckis, her father, administered two doses of Children’s Motrin for fever and congestion at the recommended intervals.  The next morning she woke up with a sore throat.  Assuming she had the flu or strep, a few more doses of Motrin were then given to soothe the child until she was taken to the pediatrician that day.  She began developing a rash, crusty eyes and cracked lips.  The pediatrician incorrectly diagnosed Samantha’s symptoms as Measles and told the family to administer Children’s Motrin to their daughter three times daily.

According to court documents, one day later her lips began to ooze blood and she developed a rash which had spread and had evolved into blisters all over her body.  After being rushed to the hospital, it was only then that she received the correct diagnosis of toxic epidermal necrolysis or Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.  SJS is a devastating disorder effecting the skin and mucous membranes.  It’s usually a reaction to medication or an infection.

Often, Stevens-Johnsons Syndrome begins to manifest as general cold or flu-like symptoms:

  • Sore-throat
  • Hives
  • Facial Swelling
  • Shock
  • Painful red or purplish rash that spreads and blisters
  • Crusty, discolored and swollen eyes
  • Cracked lips which may bleeding or begin to take on a blackish appearance as a result of the skin breaking down.

The Reckis’ daughter clung to life.  She had to be put in a medical coma for over a month to mitigate the pain of the disorder.  She has undergone between 75-100 surgeries.  She had to be fed through a feeding tube for years.  She is now legally blind from the damage to her eyes.  She has lost her ability to have children.  She exhausts easily because she only has 20 percent lung function.  She can’t play sports or participate in the same activities as young girls her age.  She can’t go to the beach or be out in the sun where she would love to be because of the sensitivity of her eyes, skin and lungs.  The list of SJS lifelong complications go on and on.  As you can imagine, this disorder turned the Reckis’ family upside down.  They’ve endured tremendous financial, emotional and marital hardship under its heavy weight on their once happy and full lives.

Many times, after reading a warning label, parents don’t anticipate almost losing their child over a few spoonfuls of Motrin.   Though Children’s Motrin does make vague mention of some of the symptoms of SJS on its warning label, it does not specifically warn of SJS. Nor does it make mention that some of the symptoms of SJS could be misinterpreted as flu-like symptoms, the reason Children’s Motrin is generally given in the first place.  According to the Boston Globe, the jury of eight women and four men were evidently “shocked and astonished to learn that a product as common as Children’s Motrin can cause such devastating damage . . . and that the drug companies have known about it for ­decades.”

Your children’s safety is important to us at Rocky Law Firm.  Many are familiar with the name “Stevens-Johnson Syndrome” but not with its ravaging nature.  Most are not aware of the life-altering and sometimes fatal link between SJS and Children’s Motrin as well as other over-the-counter children’s medicines.  Please read the entire label of all medicines carefully before administering them to children.  And if you or a loved one has been diagnosed with SJS or another disorder as a result of taking any medicine contact the experienced dangerous drugs & product liability attorneys at the Rocky McElhaney Law Firm to for a free consultation and evaluate of your claim.  We fight for you (615) 425-2500