• 73°

Six-year-old blind from Stevens-Johnson

By By MaryClaire Foster
What started out as a typical case of the chicken pox turned into a life-altering event for six-year-old A.J. Adams and his family.
In December of this past year, A.J. became one of approximately 300 diagnosed cases each year of Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Stevens-Johnson syndrome is a medical disorder of the skin where the skin and mucous membrane react severely to medication or infection causing a blistering rash, burning the body from the inside.
A.J. developed the condition after being treated with Motrin and antibiotics for a case of the chicken pox, neither of which are known to be the definite cause of the allergic reaction. Now A.J. must avoid all ibuprofen and the same type of antibiotics.
In A.J.’s case, the condition caused him to lose 95 percent of his skin.
A.J.’s skin has since either grown back on its own or through the help of skin grafts.
A.J.’s grandfather, Edward Adams of Atmore, recalled the horror of seeing his grandson in the hospital.
After spending almost three months in hospitals in Florida, Alabama and Ohio, he is now back home in Pensacola, Fla. with his family, but his struggles are far from over.
A.J.’s mother, Loretta Adams, explained the condition left her son with scar tissue in his eyes
Due to the amount of scar tissue and risk of further complications, A.J. had his eyes sewn shut in surgery on March 18.
To have surgery to repair A.J.’s eyes, his family will have to pay the $4,000 co-pay up front, a financial burden for most any family, but one that is particularly hard on the Adams family since Loretta Adams has had to leave her job to take care of their son.
Adams said at this point the family has only a quarter of the cost covered from money in savings.
A.J.’s sister, Madeliene Adams, said her hope is for her brother to have some form of sight restored.
An account has been set up at Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union under A.J.’s name for anyone interested in helping. Gulf Winds can be contacted at 446-8669.