Allergic Reaction to Ibuprofen Blinds 7-Year-Old Girl & Gives Her Brain Damage

OMG 44

Imagine your child has a fever, so you give her some Children's Motrin. And the next thing you know, your child is blind and 90 percent of her skin has fallen off! This is reportedly what happened to 16-year-old Samantha Reckis, who fell ill in 2003. After taking ibuprofen, she suffered a life-threatening allergic reaction -- despite the fact that she'd taken the medicine before with no adverse results. Samantha's parents sued and have just been awarded up to $109 million.

Samantha, who was 7 when she took the Motrin, apparently suffered toxic epidermal necrolysis. She went blind and 90 percent of her skin fell off due to a rare skin reaction. Says her family attorney:

It's like having your skin burned off of you. Imagine your worst sunburn times 1,000. It's an absolutely devastating condition.

Samantha went into a coma, and she suffered mild brain damage. She also had to have 19 surgeries!

I can't imagine what it's like to give your kid some medicine that millions give their kids every year, and then have this happen. Unbelievable! So scary. I know some people can suffer severe allergic reactions to pretty much anything, but this is really severe. It almost killed her. And considering she'd taken ibuprofin before, you'd think she'd be safe. Terrifying.

Should you just skip the ibuprofen entirely, not risk it? There are apparently some natural alternatives -- a site called Green Med Info lists things like ginger, arnica, olive oil, and Chinese skullcap. Would these really work on a fever?

How would you know if your child is allergic to ibuprofen? Some signs are facial swelling, hives, skin blisters, difficulty breathing, and going into shock. But by the time these symptoms come on, it could be too late!

Millions of children take medicines every year that are helpful and don't cause any damage whatsoever -- so this is really tricky and scary. You should consult your doctor and your own gut instinct.

Does your child have any scary allergies?


Image via Handout

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nonmember avatar grace

I don't understand why they sued when she was allergic? I's not really the company's fault is it?

nonmember avatar krelia

Its sad what happened to her, but 109 million, really? A medicine has a risk of side effects. All. Medicine does. It may work on knew person but not another, common sense.Idiotic lawsuit awards like this is why I hate people.

KenneMaw KenneMaw

I would love to know why the judge ruled this way.  If this was an isolated incident (no product tampering), she had taken the medicine before without issue, then why is it the company's fault?  There has to be more to this story.   How do they know it was the motrin and not something else that she may have eaten?

nonmember avatar Kali

What happened is horrific, but I fail to understand how this is the drug company's fault?

Did everyone, the jury, the judge, the lawyers and the author of this article miss the fact that the drug company really isn't at fault?

DebaLa DebaLa

The company admits that's a rare, extreme side effect, but was not labelled as such. Stockholders deem this event and its payout as 'acceptable risk,' given the billions they make annually. The $109M is not an award so much as the cost to cover lifetime medical care and court costs. That sounds cheap considering no insurance company will cover her after their lifetime payout. Not every lawsuit is 'frivolous.'

Joe Ann Kos Storm

They sued becasue of medical expenses!  Think about how much 19 surgeries would cost alone without any of the other things that go with it.  People are so quick to judge greed but I guarentee you that her medical expenses left them with little for frivolous spending and seeing that she is not the same person there is not much money will ever buy them again.  I promise you when you have a sick child or injured child your life changes in an instant and money is the last thing you care about.



I have a question. I'm not a mom, so I'm curios. Isn't ibuprofen the ingredient that's in aspirin (and you shouldn't give kids aspirin)? Thanks.

nonmember avatar IslandMomOf4

I don't think they should've sued the company. But I don't have a solution to cover medical bills and future care either. It's very possible I'd done the same if suing meant my child was taken care of. After an emergency surgery situation and 2 pints of blood, I now have a gluten allergy. It just seems off or weird that you pick up an allergy later in life that hasn't bothered you before but it does happen.

Taisie Taisie

Prima487- no, aspirin contains acetylsalicylic acid, which can cause reyes syndrome, which is why you shouldn't give it to children. 

And shame on you Kiri, people can be just as allergic to things like ginger, arnica, olive oil, and Chinese skullcap, and possibly go into anaphylactic shock and die, to insinuate that just because they are natural that there are no risks is irresponsible!

Lorilei Davison Stark

I worked at a place where children had peanut allergies so bad she couldn't even be in the same room as a pb & j sandwich one day we had a new teacher at lunch the child next to this child with allergies had a pb & j sandwich I tried to move the allergic child and the teacher told me to leave her alone she would be fine.  These are serious allergies not just things people make up  for fun people and if she never had it before how were they to know she was allergic do you know you are allergic to penicillian until you get it the first time??!!


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