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Lehigh Valley

Christmas is on hold for one Bethlehem family

Logan Downing is fighting a rare disease.

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The tree is up and the Downing family's Bethlehem home is decorated but Christmas cheer has been replaced by a mother's tears.

On Tuesday Logan Downing, 18, got what looked like a rash and his eyes were red.

Doctors at a local clinic thought it was chicken pox and pink eye and prescribed antibiotics but the next morning the rash spread and Logan couldn't swallow.

He ended up at Lehigh Valley Health Network where doctors diagnosed a rare skin-sloughing disorder called Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis or TENS.

"He has sloughed about 70 percent of his body surface area skin and the reason he's at a burn center is because it's treated very much like a 2nd degree burn," said Dr. Daniel Lozano, LVHN Burn Unit Medical Director.

Lozano says it looks like a burn, as well.

The skin and organs like the eyes and lungs lose their first layer of tissue exposing body to life threatening infections.

The disorder is extremely painful and can be fatal for the elderly or people with health issues.

Lozano says TENS is commonly triggered by new medications containing sulfonamides, raising dosage levels in existing medications or infections.

"It was hard seeing him. I've gotten used to seeing him now and I know it's my son. His face is bandaged. Every part of him," said Bonnie Downing, Logan's mother.

Logan is now in an induced coma and will likely be in the hospital for at least a month.

Bonnie Downing says Logan's friends have started a GoFundMe page to help pay with his medical bills.

And as for Christmas, it's on hold for now.

"He loves Christmas he loves to go all out for Christmas," said Downing.

The family says all they want this year is to be with Logan.

"We decided until Logan comes home we are going to keep the tree up and keep all of his presents under there," said Downing.

Downing says she also wants people to be educated about the warning signs of TENS and its precursor, Stevens-Johnson Syndrome.


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