By:
23-06-2015

A Young Model Lost Her Leg Due To Toxic Shock After Using A Tampon

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A young model is suing a tampon company after losing a leg to toxic shock syndrome (TSS). Californian model Lauren Wasser claims the instructions on the box of Kotex tampons she used are confusing and not clear enough.
As well as suing Kimberley-Clark Corporation, who manufacture and distribute Kotex Natural Balance tampons, Lauren, 27, has a lawsuit against Kroger and Ralph's, the grocery stores that sold them. She told VICE that she hopes the action will make women more aware of the dangers of TSS, a complication of bacterial infections, frequently involving staph bacteria. About 20% of the general population has staph bacteria in their bodies and a link between it and tampon usage can cause TSS. The warning on the box says, “Change your tampon every four to eight hours, including overnight”. Her family claim this is confusing because “overnight” can mean longer than eight hours, especially in the case of teens who can sleep nine or ten hours on a weekend.
Three years ago, the 5'11" blonde beauty was living a dream life with acting classes by day and going to flashy LA parties at night. She said: “Everything was based on looks. I was that girl, and I didn’t even think about it.”
Then in October 2012, her glamorous lifestyle came to an abrupt end. She left a birthday party feeling unwell. Near to death, she was rushed to hospital where doctors said her internal organs were shutting down and she'd suffered a massive heart attack. They didn't know the cause until an infectious disease specialist asked if she was wearing a tampon. The tampon was examined and found to be positive for toxic shock syndrome. When her right leg turned gangrene, Lauren had to have it amputated below the knee. The heel and toes of her left foot were also badly damaged. "I wanted to kill myself when I got home," she says. "I was this girl — and then all of a sudden I don't have a leg, I'm in a wheelchair, I have half a foot, I can't even walk to the bathroom.” Over the past 50 years, tampon ingredients have changed from cotton to synthetic and some experts claim that the synthetic fibres, along with a tampon's absorbency, can create the perfect environment for staph bacteria to flourish.
Lauren decided to tell her harrowing story to make women aware of the dangers of TSS. She also wants tampons to be marketed with a bigger, clearer warning about their potential risks. "You know cigarettes can kill you, so when you use them, it's your choice," she says. "Had I known all the info about TSS, I would never have used tampons."
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