Lauren Wasser, a 27-year-old model, went through a nightmare no woman should ever suffer. The rising star from L.A developed toxic shock syndrome (TSS) after using Kotex Natural Balance tampons. Her infection turned into gangrene, and she had to have her right leg amputated.
Toxic Shock Syndrome is an extremely rare case, which affects 1 in 100,000 women a year. It’s a bacterial infection which involves staph bacteria (or Staphylococcus aureus) which causes rashes, fevers, confusion, and organ failure. TSS is a threat to women who use tampons, as the gelled carboxymethylcellulose in it provides the medium for the killer bacteria to grow and enter your body. It is therefore, advised to change tampons after every 3-4 hours, which Lauren too followed like a routine.
Lauren told VICE her extremely painful experience where she narrated how a tampon was responsible for the loss of her leg. She said that she suffered a heart-attack and fell on the floor and was discovered by the police before being taken to a hospital. It wasn’t that she used the brand for the first time, as this was her go-to brand of tampons.
Image Credit: Brad Cerenzia on Flickr
Lauren’s mother then filed a lawsuit against Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the manufacturer and distributor of Kotex Natural Balance tampons, as well as the grocery stores Kroger and Ralph’s, from where her daughter purchased the tampon. Lauren’s lawyer argues that the instructions put on the box do not specify the dangers of TSS and that they are very unclear.
Today, Lauren stands on a prosthetic leg and even cracks jokes on it. She now wants tampons to come with a bigger warning (like cigarettes) specifying that they can cause death. She will also appear in front of the Congress with Representative Carolyn Maloney, who is trying to pass the Robin Danielson Act, named after a woman who died of TSS in 1998.