Tennessee girl, 17, loses battle with TEN
Elizabeth Patton, 17, was a popular and athletic high school student in Brentwood, Tenn. She enjoyed playing basketball and helped lead her Ravenswood High School softball teammates to their first District 11-AAA regular season title last spring. But last week she met an untimely death by a most unexpected and rare autoimmune reaction to medication, according to News Channel 5.
Elizabeth had been diagnosed with toxic epidermal necrolysis (TEN), a severe form of Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) in which the top layer of skin detaches from lower layers of skin all over the body. SJS and TEN is caused by severe reaction to certain drugs, such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) and anticonvulsant medications. The incidence of TEN cases are reported as between 0.4 and 1.2 cases per million each year.
TENS generally affects the mucous membranes and is usually preceded by 1 to 2 weeks of fever. A rash forms and within hours the skin becomes painful and can easily be peeled away from the underlying dermis. The mouth can become blistered and eroded and the eyes can become blistered and ulcerated.
Elizabeth had been sent to Vanderbilt University Medical Center to “ride out” the illness. But as the disease progressed, she was put into a drug-induced coma to help shield her from the excruciating pain. She spent two weeks in the coma before she lost her battle to TEN. Her parents say they do not know what caused the severe epidermal reaction that led to her death, but say they are committed to helping educate other parents of the terrible reaction that killed their daughter.