The Lake family of Stratford was on a family vacation in Alaska in July 2010. Russell, Laura and their children Joshua, Jessica and Jeremy were enjoying the beauty of the Alaskan countryside when Jeremy became ill. Although far from their family doctor in Wisconsin, they felt he should get immediate medical attention. They took him to a physician and he was diagnosed with strep throat and was put on a prescribed antibiotic that he had taken before.
After two days, Jeremy developed a rash, so it was decided to discontinue the medication. The family was returning home and would take him to his local physician. However, the rash continued to spread and then blistered. His condition worsened as they travelled the long flight home.
Upon their arrival back to Wisconsin, Laura noticed that the skin in his mouth was peeling and he developed a fever. He was immediately taken to Marshfield Clinic. The physician quickly determined that Jeremy had Stevens-Johnson Syndrome. He was having a severe reaction to his medication.
"Everything that day went fast," said Laura. "He continued to get worse. The blisters on his skin grew larger until they would weep and the skin would peel off."
Jeremy was treated like a burn patient. His fever spiked to 105 degrees. It was explained that the reaction affects all soft tissue and that's why the inside of his mouth peeled. The blistering also continued down his esophagus and the lungs. His lungs had partially collapsed and he was having trouble breathing. He was transferred to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) for one-on-one care around the clock. He eyes became light sensitive and he was no longer able to open them.
Jeremy was treated with IV medications as the physicians waited for his body to respond to the treatment. The day that his fever finally subsided was the first sign that things were improving. As long as he didn't develop any infections and his skin was healing, he could be transferred to the pediatric unit.
Jeremy doesn't remember a lot of his hospital stay because of the illness and sedation. At home his recovery went well. He just needed a lot of rest.
That fall Jeremy began 8th grade at Stratford Junior High. He enjoys football, basketball and computer games.
"It's a miracle that we still have our son," said Laura. "As bad as things got, it wasn't his time. His angels were watching over him."