A rare medical condition makes five-year-old Lennon Townsend’s skin look like he suffered burns and the young boy’s body had to be covered with bandages from top to bottom. His mother, Nicola Grantham, first thought he was having a rash when she saw his skin fall off. But when she saw that it wasn’t going away, Nicola took her boy to the hospital.
The mother was told by the doctors that the rash would go away on its own because they believed it was related to a viral infection. At the time, the family didn’t notice anything different in Lennon’s behavior either because he was happy and playful as he always has been, even though he takes medication for epilepsy and Hirschsprung disease. But later, his carer noticed that part of the skin on his chest was missing. Nicola was also horrified to see that chunks of his skin would just fall off when she touched him.
“We thought maybe he had scratched himself in his sleep but when I lifted him up off the pillow to get him dressed, a big chunk of skin fell off his cheek,” the mother said, according to The Sun. “His dad went to lift him up and his skin just slid off him. It was awful, it just seemed to happen so quickly. When we turned him on his side all the skin on his back had come off.”
Shocked to see what was happening, the mother said according to Lancs Live, “…Wherever I would touch the skin it would fall off. Because Lennon has a number of conditions I have access to Blackburn hospital so took him up. They originally thought it was Scalded Skin Syndrome however and he was placed on antibiotics.”
It took a while before the non-verbal young boy was diagnosed with Stevens–Johnson syndrome (SJS) which is Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN). Because of the condition, Lennon’s skin starts to blister. The parts where his skin peels off turn into raw areas that can be painful for the boy.
From Blackburn in the UK, the boy was taken to the Royal Manchester Children’s hospital where doctors peeled his skin off to stop an infection from taking place. “It was really unsettling, the skin just kept peeling off. I think they knew at that point that it wasn’t Scalded Skin Syndrome and it was something more serious,” said the mother-of-two. “Once they done the debriding process he really did look like he’d been scalded. At the moment he’s sedated for the pain and he’s in a stable, but serious condition but is well ventilated with no problems breathing.”
Doctors are still trying to confirm whether it was Lennon’s medication that caused such a drastic reaction or if it was something else. “As he’s non-verbal, it’s hard for him to communicate his pain and it’s going to be with any long term effects when he gets older,” Nicola added.
A GoFundMe page set up for Lennon so far has raised about $5,260 (£4,035) to help ease the financial burden of the baby’s medical expenses for the family.
Trying not to lose hope, Nicola went on to say, as quoted by Mirror, “I’m staying positive however and he’s got a wonderful team of doctors and nurses who not only look after him but also us… I really can’t thank them enough for all they’ve done. It’s been like a military operation to look after him and I’m ever so grateful.”