Antibiotics nearly killed woman

Author: , Reporter, @CatherineH_WFMZ, chawley@wfmz.com
Published: Nov 10 2012 06:34:05 PM EST   Updated On: Nov 11 2012 01:56:16 PM EST
BETHLEHEM, Pa. -

A local woman taking antibiotics to battle an infection instead ended up fighting for her life. 

The medication caused a rare condition where her skin peeled away in sheets.  Now the community is stepping up to help her recovery.

 "She lost all her skin, It's like an acid burn from the inside out," Joe Schultheis said.  "This happened to her entire body."

Sue Schultheis almost died. 

An allergic reaction to the antibiotic bactrim caused an extremely rare syndrome known as TEN-toxic epidermal necrolysis.  Sue's skin started peeling off.

 "They had to induce a coma because no one could take that kind of pain."

 Sue's husband Joe said his wife was put on life support and that's where she stayed for almost two months. 

The bizarre disease kills nearly half the people who contract it, miraculously this mother of three wasn't one of them.

 Sue is now in rehab and pulling through.

 "Every day I can see improvement," Joe said.  "She can move her arms, she can move her fingers."

 Sue's skin is healing, but she still has a long way to go.  The family is also dealing with mounting debt.

 "For the last three months our income has been cut by 50%, so we have bills to take care of and the mortgage."

Seven weeks ago, a committee formed to figure out how they could help the family. 

The group "Friends For Sue" came up with a fundraiser.  A tricky tray auction boasting 213 donated baskets filled with prizes was held at Northampton Community College Saturday. 

Folks buy tickets hoping to win the loot.  Baskets with books, a hot air balloon ride, even a trip to Vegas are up for grabs.

 "All the money will go to Sue and her family to off-set medical costs and anything else that might come along," Annette Savo said.

 More than 250 people stopped by the event Saturday, getting the committee closer to its goal of raising $25,000.

"I'm hoping if everybody comes out we can achieve that," shared Savo.  "And you won't be sorry if you come out because there are so many wonderful things."

 The fundraiser continues Sunday from 10 a.m.- 3 p.m.

For Sue and Joe, the support means the world.

 "Thank you," he said through tears.  "Thank you from the bottom of my heart, thank you."

 Winners will be drawn Sunday. 

You don't have to be present to win.  The Friends For Sue tricky tray is being held at Northampton Community College in Bethlehem in the Laub Lounge on the second floor of the College Center.