Health

New Mother Dies From Rare Disease Caused By Antibiotics

Cassandra CampbellCassandra Campbell

A Michigan family is sharing their daughter's story in order to raise awareness of a raise disease they say could come from your medicine cabinet.

Cassandra Campbell was 24-years-old when she went to the doctor to have a bug bite looked at. She was sent home with prescriptions for precautionary antibiotics.

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After taking the medicine, Cassandra began experiencing flu-like symptoms and developed a rash, according to LittleThings. Things turned out to be much worse than her family expected, however.

According to WXMI, Campbell was diagnosed with a disease called Stevens Johnson Syndrome, or SJS. SJS is a rare disease most commonly caused by antibiotics such as Bactrim or penicillin that impacts less than 1 percent of those who use the drugs each year.

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Cassandra's family says that she got SJS from taking the antibiotics prescribed to her for her bug bite.

"It was tough, it was tough," Cassandra's mother, Cindy Shoemaker, said. "It's the biggest fear I ever had was losing one of my children."

After several visits to the ER, Cassandra passed away. 

Cassandra was rushed to the hospital on July 13, 2014 after her rash had gotten exceedingly worse. Her body was covered in blisters and every time doctors scrubbed the blisters off, they would come back.

"They actually didn't know at first what was causing it, and they called doctors around the world," Cindy said. 

According to WXMI, Cassandra's skin was blistering and falling off of her body as a result of SJS. The tissue in Cassandra's body was essentially breaking down. Doctors say that the disease is treatable, but not curable.

Despite years of research, it is unclear what ingredient in the antibiotics might cause SJS.

In Cassandra's final hours, doctors performed CPR on her three separate times. 

"Then the doctors came up to to, and the just told they were sorry and they couldn't save her," Cindy said.

When Cassandra passed away, she had been a mother for just three weeks. Her mother said, "She was a brand new mom, and it was taken from her."

In addition to becoming a mother, Cassandra was beginning a new career. She had been learning to become a tattoo artist from her father.

"I was glad one of my kids wanted to pursue art,' her father Tim said.

Cassandra's first design in progress was something she sketched for her mother.

"When I went back into my art studio, her sketch was still taped to my light table," Tim said. "It makes it really hard for me to go there right now."

Cassandra's parents are now trying to raise awareness of SJS as the rare disease not very widely known. What they thought was just a rash ended up taking their daughter's life. 

Doctors say that the disease can effect everybody differently, depending on genetics and the medication being taken. 

Sources: WXMI, LittleThings / Photo Credit: WPMT