An antibiotic that is prescribed every day, instead of helping, had a devastating effect on a 10-year-old boy in Mobile County.
Imagine taking a medication million of people take everyday and having a reaction that burns every square inch of skin on your body, inside and out.
That happened to Theloinous Zieglschmid-Sylvester, a ten-year-old boy from the Gulf Coast.
The images contained in this story are hard to look at, but the young man’s parents say this story needs to be told.
The family sat in low light with Hayley Minogue because Thelonious is sensitive to light. Four months ago, he was like any other ten year old boy. He had a slight infection, so his parents took him to the doctor. He was given a prescription for Bactrim, a common antibiotic.
“It can happen from any drug,” said Tony Sylvester, Thelonious’ father. “It can happen from ibuprofen, it can happen from Tylenol, it can be anything… penicillin, Amoxicillin…. In our case it was Bactrim. It can be anything. It can be a drug you’ve taken your entire life. and then all of a sudden one day it turns on you.”
Thelonious’ allergic reaction began after he’d been taking Bactrim for a few days. He had an upset stomach and dizziness, both of which are common side effects with some medications. He woke up in the middle of the night unable to see clearly. His father noticed blisters forming on his son’s face.
“He pulled down his lower eyelid and this film was in his eyes,” Tony said. “I panicked then, but even then I didn’t realize how bad it was going to get.”
Within four hours, Thelonious was covered in blisters, his skin dead. After 12 hours, skin began to peal from his body. He went into a coma and was transported to the Shriner’s Hospital in Galveston, Texas.
He finally came home just in the last weeks. His skin has healed, but the muscles in his neck are weak from being in the fetal position for three months and he’s legally blind.
Hayley asked him if there was any time when he realized, despite his 30 percent chance of survival, he was going to make it. Thelonious described a day where he was unresponsive for 45 minutes, and had an out of body experience.
“After a while, I saw this man standing in the corner of the room in a white robe with a beard,” Thelonious said. “White skin, brown beard, brown hair. He smiled at me and it was like I was back in my body. I thought it was really strange but after that it was just… kept getting better and better after that point.”
Hayley then asked if he thought that person was God or an angel. Thelonious responded, “That’s what I believe.”
The family is now on a mission. They want to spread awareness of this devastating disorder. It’s one in a million but it can happen, and they want to find a way to stop it so no one else knows the pain.
“He wants to read book… and hes legally blind,” said Ute Zieglschmid-Sylvester. “Let’s hope somebody finds some cure… something for his eyes. All he wants is his eyes back, but its just really up in the air.”
The family has set up a GoFundMe to help with medical bills. You can find that here.
To learn more about Stevens-Johnson syndrome, click here.
To learn more about TEN, click here.