A 27-year-old model who nearly died after using a tampon is suing Kotex, the company that manufactured the tampons she used, as well as the grocery stores that sold them.
At 24, Lauren Wasser lost her leg and came close to death after she was hospitalized for toxic shock syndrome, which she developed from using a Kotex Natural Brand tampon.
Wassner’s lawsuit claims Kimberly-Clark Corporation and the grocery stores Kroger and Ralph’s are “negligently, wantonly, recklessly, tortuously and unlawfully responsible in some manner” for her hospitalization because the disclaimer on the tampon box was not clear enough, reported Vice.
After giving up a full-ride scholarship to play basketball at a Division I school to pursue a modeling career, the 5-foot-11 daughter of two models says the ordeal to which she lost her leg began in fall 2012 when she started to feel like she had the flu. Wassner had her period at the time and bought her regular brand of Kotex at a nearby Ralph’s grocery store.
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With years of experience, Wassner said she knew to change her tampon every three to four hours and replaced hers three times that day. She continued to feel increasingly unwell.
After a friend and police found the model face down on her bedroom floor, she was rushed to hospital where doctors informed her that her organs were shutting down, she had suffered a massive heart attack and was 10 minutes from death, reported Daily Mail.
Doctors were initially perplexed by her condition until a specialist asked if she had a tampon in. She did, and the tampon was sent to a lab where it came back positive for TSS.
Although rare, TSS is frequently involved with Staphlyoccucus, commonly called staph, bacteria and has been linked to the use of superabsorbent tampons since the 1980s.
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Wassner’s infection turned to gangrene and resulted in her right leg being amputated below the knee.
Wasser believes that the corporation and grocery stores that created and sold the tampons are responsible for the TSS, and hopes the lawsuit and telling the story of her own horrifying ordeal will help other women become better informed of the risks of certain feminine hygiene products.
“You know cigarettes can kill you, so when you use them, it's your choice,” Wassner said. “Had I known all the info about TSS, I would never have used tampons.”