When Jessica Jones noticed a small, red spot on her ankle in February, she thought it was a spider bite. When she saw a doctor, he told her it was cellulitis, a common bacterial skin infection, WVUE reported. He gave her medicine and sent her home.
But the next day, the spot on Jones’ ankle had grown, and it was inflamed and painful.
Jones visited a local emergency room, where doctors told her she had bullous pemphigoid, a rare skin condition that causes large, fluid-filled blisters. Again, she was given prescriptions for medication and sent home.
But the blisters continued to grow, causing Jones more pain.
“She essentially had, at the end of the day, second-degree burns,” dermatologist Robert Benson told WVUE.
Visits to two more hospitals left Jones with a diagnosis of a photosensitivity rash and lupus erthyrematosus. Each time she was given medication, but nothing eased Jones’ pain or reduced the swelling and blisters. Before long, Jones couldn’t walk and she was confined to a wheelchair.
“It scared me because I’m thinking, ‘What if they have to amputate my feet?’ That was going through my mind,” she told WVUE. “They’re telling me this is lupus, bullous impetigus, and I said, ‘This is getting worse.’ I said, ‘I’ve been on all these antibiotics, steroids, creams -- nothing’s working.”
Two weeks after her first doctor’s appointment, Jones called an ambulance and was taken to a third hospital. While at Oschner Hospital in New Orleans, a doctor asked a question that the others hadn’t. She asked if Jones had worn any new shoes recently. Jones said she had.
“I noticed a couple of days after wearing them, the top(s) of my feet (were) getting sore, but I didn’t think anything of it. Shoes have always done that whenever I tighten the straps up on them,” Jones told WVUE. “The doctor said, ‘Where the strap is located on the shoe is exactly where your burns are.’ She says, ‘This is looking more like a chemical burn from leather more than bullous impetigus or lupus.’”
The doctor diagnosed her with contact dermatitis, a result of the severe allergic reaction Jones had to a material out of which the shoes were made.
Jones, who doesn’t blame the shoe manufacturer, said she may never wear leather again.
“As soon as you see (your skin) with redness, blisters and irritation, don’t wait too long to get checked out,” Benson said.