- Syndrome only affects one in three million in the UK
- Mother planned daughter’s funeral by her bedside
By Claire Bates
Last updated at 10:26 PM on 19th September 2011
A teenage girl almost died in a million-to-one case of blood poisoning caused by her tampon.
Paige Roffey, 15, collapsed at her home in Rayleigh, Essex with toxic shock syndrome after using a tampon for just four hours.
She was initially sent home from hospital by doctors who thought she had a virus. But Paige was then rushed back to Southend Hospital after collapsing in the shower.
Paige’s mother Sarah, 39, said doctors warned her that Paige was in a critical condition and put her into a coma for two days.
She said: ‘I sat beside my daughter’s bed and planned her funeral. I didn’t think she would make it.’
WHAT IS TOXIC SHOCK?
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare, life-threatening bacterial infection.
It occurs when the bacteria responsible, which normally lives harmlessly on the skin, invades the blood supply and releases toxins.
This causes a major drop in blood pressure – a key symptom of TSS.
Other symptoms such as muscle aches and diarrhoea can be confused with gastric flu.
There is a suggested link with tampon absorbency and TSS. For this reason women are advised to use the lowest absorbency level suitable during a period, and to alternate with sanitary towels.
TSS can affect men, women or children but there are only around 40 cases a year.
If diagnosed and treated early with antibiotics, there is a good chance of recovery.
Thankfully, Paige’s condition improved and she was able to leave hospital after 10 days. Now both mother and daughter are keen to highlight the potential dangers of tampons.
Toxic shock syndrome is an extremely rare but severe illness caused by bacterial toxins. It affects as few as 20 people a year and is caused by a trauma such as a burn or an insect bite. Only around two cases a year have a possible tampon link.
Most warnings about the dangers of TSS risk are about leaving tampons in place for too long,
But experts say the condition can develop in some young women after just a few hours if they don’t have enough antibodies to fight any infection they cause.
Paige’s mother Sarah initially though she had a virus when she was taken ill on 11 July.
She said: ‘Paige was feeling sick and ill so we took her to Southend Hospital’s A&E department. They said she had a virus and we took her home but she still wasn’t well and became really ill during the night. Then she collapsed in the shower so we took her back to hospital.
‘They found her blood pressure was dangerously low and if we had left it a little while longer she wouldn’t have made it. They were working on her in Neptune Ward for hours. They were pumping great bags of fluid into her, squeezing the bags by hand.
‘Then they told us she would have to be transferred to Great Ormond Street. They had to put her in a coma first so that she could make the journey.’
Doctors told Sarah her daughter’s condition was critical and they were taking it “hour by hour”.
Doctors kept Paige in a coma for two days and then gradually reduced her medication but they warned she might be brain damaged when she emerged from the coma.
Sarah kept a vigil beside her bed with her partner, Michael Clarke, 31. She added: ‘It was terrible. We just didn’t know what would happen. All her friends came to the hospital and I think that’s what brought her round in the end.
‘I can’t thank them enough because I am sure they brought her back to me. Also the wonderful doctors and nurses because they did a fantastic job.’
Paige recovered enough to be transferred back to Basildon Hospital because Southend was full and she was discharged a week later.
Still weak, she is back at school, and determined to warn other young women of the dangers of using tampons.
She said: ‘I still feel ill some days but I am getting my strength back. I just want it to be a lot more known than it is.’
The family has since launched an awareness campaign and will be handing out leaflets at Paige’s school where a special assembly will be held to raise awareness of the condition.
A spokesman for Proctor and Gamble, makers of Tampax, the product Paige used, said: ‘We are glad to hear that Paige is making a good recovery. We are looking into the case but cannot make any comment as our investigations are still underway.’
For more information, visit www.toxicshock.com or call the Toxic Shock Information System (TSSIS) on 01483 418561
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2038906/Tampon-left-schoolgirl-Paige-Roffey-15-coma-toxic-shock-syndrome.html#ixzz1oAepZqqo