By Mollie Tracey
A school girl was left hours from death after a tampon caused a deadly infection.
Molly Pawlett, 14, assumed she had a sickness bug when she woke up on April 10 feeling unwell.
But when a red rash started to spread over Molly’s body, her quick thinking mum, Sonia, 39, urged her to remove the tampon she was wearing and rushed her to hospital.
Molly’s organs had already starting to shut down, triggering sepsis – a life threatening illness caused by an infection.
The year nine student from Daventry, Northamptonshire, was placed in the high dependency unit and was finally diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome (TSS) – a rare condition associated with using a tampon for too long.
Over the past week Molly has been recovering at home, but Sonia now wants to educate other parents of the symptoms of the deadly illness.
Sonia, a carer, said: “At first I assumed Molly had a bug, but for some reason I had strange feeling it was something more serious.
“That’s when I asked Molly if she was wearing a tampon, which she was.
“She removed it straight away, but by this point she had been wearing it for 10 hours and it was already too late.
“At the hospital the doctors were really concerned, she was transferred to the high dependency unit.
“I told them about the tampon, which spurred the doctors into doing more tests and the following morning they confirmed it was toxic shock.
“She hadn’t passed urine since the night before and they struggled to take blood from her as it had turned thick like syrup.
“She had a really sore mouth and a red tongue, which are also signs of toxic shock.
“Molly’s doctor admitted this was the first case she had treated before but their care was amazing and they saved her life.
“Her kidneys started to fail and her body went into toxic shock so she was monitored every half an hour and was placed on medication to stabilise her.
“Because I acted so quickly, and she removed the tampon when she did, she was one of the lucky ones.
“If we hadn’t of taken her to the hospital when we did then it could have been fatal.”
Molly was diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome – a rare condition caused by bacteria getting into the body and releasing harmful toxins.
Tampons can increase your risk of developing TSS particularly if you leave them in for longer than recommended or if you use super-absorbency ones.
Sonia added: “I had told her not to wear a tampon overnight but of course, being 14 she thought she knew better.
“After five days in hospital we were finally able to take Molly home where she is now recovering.
“I am so proud of her, it has been a really difficult time but she has been incredibly brave throughout the past couple of weeks.
“A lot of the mothers I met at the hospital had heard of toxic shock but weren’t aware of any of the symptoms which is really dangerous.
“Hopefully by sharing her story we will be able to warn others to always get a second opinion.”
Molly will never wear a tampon again and in the future, if she plans to have children, she will have to alert doctors when she is pregnant because any infection can become serious.
Molly said: “I never thought this would happen to me, I usually wear a tampon and so do my friends at school, so I was completely shocked and didn’t think I was doing anything wrong.
“At first I thought it was just a bug, but when I didn’t start to feel better I got really worried especially when I was taken to hospital.
“I really want to encourage other girls not to leave tampons in for longer than eight hours, thankfully I pulled through but others might not be as lucky.”