Why you should never, ever, ever share antibiotics.

As you read this, a 19-year-old woman is lying in a hospital bed covered in horrific burns.

She wasn’t in an accident, she had no contact with fire. All she did was take one pill.

Yaasmeen Castanada, a mother-of-one from California, complained to her friend of a sore throat a few weeks ago and her friend offered her a left over antibiotic.

Yaasmeen took it and immediately felt the effects.

Yaasmeen. Image via Facebook. 

Her aunt, Martha Hughes, said Yaasmeen’s throat, mouth and eyes began to burn. Hours later, the skin on her lips was peeling away.

Yaasmeen was rushed to hospital where she was diagnosed with an incredibly rare disorder called Steven Johnson Syndrome.

Doctor Phil Jaksa told Mamamia the disease slowly destroys your skin.

“It’s a disorder that effects your immune system. It’s like a severe burn, but all over your body. It often results in death.”

Yaasmeen in hospital. Image via GoFundMe.

The issue has brought to light a debate between medical professionals and patients surrounding the proper use of antibiotics.

While it’s true Yaasmeen should never have taken an antibiotic prescribed to her, Dr. Jaksa identifies there is a much more serious issue at hand here.


“Antibiotics are not always appropriate, especially for sore throats. If you get an antibiotic that isn’t from your doctor, it can absolutely do you harm. However, any medication doctors prescribe have benefits but can also cause harm,” he said.

“If Yaasmeen had seen a medical professional, any good doctor would have assessed her symptoms and checked to see if she was at risk of contracting the disease. Only then would she have been given antibiotics if it was absolutely necessary and nothing else could have been used to treat her infection.”

Image via Facebook.

It’s a difficult situation and while we know the risks, how many of us can say we haven’t ever taken an antibiotic that wasn’t prescribed to us, or ever failed to finish a course of antibiotics? I’m guilty of that.

But the risks are there. They are printed on the packet, for us to follow.

In Yaasmeen’s case, she made a split-second decision that has resulted in a devastating circumstance.

The ‘what if’s in this situation are endless. What if she had gone to the doctor? What if she had just waited for her cold to clear? What if she hadn’t taken the pill?

But she did. And now she is lying in a hospital bed covered in bandages while her family is left to care for her four-month-old daughter.

To donate to Yaasmeen’s crowd funding page, click here.