A Californian model has spoken out about how she almost died after getting Toxic Shock Syndrome (TSS) caused by a tampon.
Lauren Wasser, 35, who revealed how she had both of her legs amputated as a result of TSS, has spoken about her harrowing experience on the Diary of a CEO podcast with Steven Bartlett.
Describing when she first started feeling ill, Lauren shared that initially she found herself experiencing flu-like symptoms until she found herself feeling progressively worse.
Police later found her unconscious, covered in feces and vomit on her bedroom floor. Cops found Wasser after her mom called them to undertake a welfare check after becoming concerned about her daughter’s wellbeing.
Lauren was then rushed to hospital after her temperature skyrocketed to 107 degrees (41.6c). She then suffered a heart attack and was put into a medically-induced coma. An infectious disease doctor asked for Lauren to be checked to see if she was wearing a tampon and after Lauren underwent some tests, the doctor determined she had TSS.
Upon waking from her coma, Lauren discovered that the damage done to her legs from gangrene was irreparable and doctors would need to amputate them. Recalling the harrowing moment, Lauren shared: “My feet were on fire, it was like someone was lighting my foot on fire, the burning sensation was insane.
“My right leg was worse than my left, my toes on my left were turning purple but my right side, there was a lot more damage, you could tell. So then the concern came in that basically they needed to amputate my right leg to save my life or I was going to die.”
Lauren then shared she learned that she would need to have her legs amputated after overhearing a nurse talking on the phone. She explained: “I am lying there, my room is empty and I can hear a nurse behind a curtain, she is saying: ‘I have a young girl here, she is 24 years old, who’s going to need a right leg below-the-knee amputation.'”
“I remember looking around and thinking, ‘Is she talking about me, she’s saying I am an amputation?’. “And I just started screaming, I was screaming for my mother, my godfather, I was screaming for everyone, saying; ‘Do not let this person touch me’.”
Lauren shared that while she had her right leg amputated at the time, upon learning that there was a 50 per cent chance that her left leg could be saved, she decided not to go ahead with the second amputation. However, after suffering such severe pain in her left leg over the following six years, she decided to also have her left leg removed just ahead of her 30th birthday.
Lauren is now committed to dedicating her life to raising awareness about TSS. She shared: “[Tampons] are made using chlorine bleach, dioxin and synthetic fibres, which create the perfect storm in our bodies,” she said on the podcast. “I have been working with a mother who lost her teenage daughter to TSS when she was 18 – Madeline Mosby.
“Through the darkness and trauma of that we have joined forces in wanting to change the world and wanting to advocate and pass these bills. She’s been doing a lot of the groundwork like starting her foundation DontShockMe.org. There is a bill that we are working on to pass.” Toxic shock syndrome is a rare and sometimes life-threatening illness caused by infection as a result of certain types of bacteria.