A young couple’s life turned upside down earlier this month when husband Andrew Blount contracted a serious illness as a side effect of taking a new medication.
“It’s very rare. The hospital rarely sees it. Stevens Johnson syndrome isn’t necessarily very rare but this severity of it is,” explained his wife Teresa.
Blount, 31, has Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis (TEN) a more severe variant of Stevens Johnson syndrome.
A rare and devastating side effect of a newly prescribed medication, TEN causes the top layer of skin to separate from the other layers, causing severe blisters inside and out and leaving the patient prone to infection. It’s treated similarly to severe burns and can be unbearably painful.
Andrew has been in hospital since Sept. 10 with no end in sight.
“It just came on so quickly,” Teresa said. “Oddly enough they had two in Royal Jubilee in at the same time, Andrew and another, with the same thing,” she said, noting the same type of medication did not cause both cases.
Blount had gone to his doctor with what he thought was pinkeye on Sept. 9.
Less than 24 hours later, he was admitted to Cowichan District Hospital with his eyes nearly swollen shut.
“That Thursday evening when he was in the hospital, I think it was the internal medicine doctor, he figured it was a reaction to the medication. Right from that evening they pretty much figured it out. But it spread so fast,” Teresa said.
On Sept. 13 Blount was transferred to Royal Jubilee Hospital in Victoria.
Teresa had taken two weeks off work to spend them at her husband’s bedside but had to return to work some shifts this week. She had been commuting daily to see her husband but hasn’t been able to recently as she’s been sick.
“If I have anything as small as a sore throat I can’t go up,” she said.
Infection is a serious risk and could lead to potentially fatal consequences.
“You have to gown up and everything before you go in and see him,” Teresa said.
Blount, a one-time Black Tie award nominee for his exceptional customer service while working in the London Drugs computer department, has been hooked up to a ventilator for weeks and is being fed by a tube.
“He can kind of move his body around a little bit and nod yes or not, or squeeze your hand but he’s not speaking or anything. They have him sedated and on a bunch of pain medication,” Teresa explained.
Andrew is a computer pro, owning and operating Cowichan Technology. The family maxed out their credit cards paying their staff before closing the small business’s doors after he got sick.
With a mortgage to pay, Teresa is on her own while Andrew fights to recover.
A gofundme campaign has been set up to help this Duncan family.
“It kind of blew up over night,” Teresa said of the page, which aims to raise $20,000 to help the family now that Blount can’t work and his wife is taking as much time away as she can to be at his beside.
Blount is from New Westminster and he has received a lot of support from his family, friends and old schoolmates back home. The Cowichan community has also rallied — as it’s been known to do — to help the young couple.
It’s believed Blount will recover, but it’s a very long road ahead.
“Definitely,” Teresa said. “The doctors have told us that he’ll be in ICU for at least a couple more weeks and then he’ll transfer to the plastics ward in the same hospital for rehab and whatnot, and he could be there for a few months at least — and that’s if everything goes the way it should be and there are no infections or anything,” Teresa said.
Visit https://www.gofundme.com/rx4x279c to learn more about Andrew and Teresa Blount’s story or to contribute to their cause.