Doctors honored for saving life of Long Island 15-year-old from life-threatening skin disorder

WABC logo
Friday, July 7, 2017
EMBED <>More Videos

Diana Williams reports on the boy who thanked doctors for saving his life.

EAST MEADOW, New York (WABC) -- Devin O'Rourke is a shy 15-year-old walking the halls at Nassau University Medical Center with doctors and staff, now near and dear to him and his family.

It was last November that the Levittown native was rushed to the hospital - his mother Eileen remembers it well.

"He woke up and he couldn't breathe, spots all over his body," O'Rourke's mother said.

The diagnosis was Stephen Johnson Syndrome, an auto immune illness that affects the skin. In Devin's case, 95 percent of his body was affected. It's almost like a scalding where the skin peels from the body like a very bad burn.

O'Rourke's mother says he got it after taking a common acne medication.

"It was Minocycline, so if you're going to give your children any kind of antibiotic, you probably should do some research," O'Rourke's mother said.

Five weeks after entering the hospital O'Rourke went home, but it was a life-changing experience. His mom handed out plaques to the doctors and staff at NUMC that saved him.

"It was very eye-opening because you never think every day that something this bad would happen to you," O'Rourke said.

Devon celebrated his 15th birthday on Friday, a birthday his family once feared might not happen. The doctors and hospital staff were grateful to be part of this celebration, and many more to come.

"When you get a child like this, you form an emotion bond that lasts for the rest of your life," Nassau County University Medical Center Dr. Peter Ciminera said.