Model who lost leg to toxic shock syndrome now has second leg amputated

Lauren Wasser contracted TSS in 2012 after using a tampon. She's now a double amputee

Judith Vonberg,Chelsea Ritschel
Monday 15 January 2018 10:59
Model Lauren Wasser tells her story of suffering tampon induced Toxic Shock Syndrome

A model who lost her right leg after suffering from toxic shock syndrome (TSS) caused by a tampon has now also had her left leg amputated because of the same infection.

Lauren Wasser, 29, posted a picture of herself with Amy Purdy - model, actress, Paralympic snowboarder and double amputee - following the operation.

Wasser's partner, Jennifer Rovero, had kept fans updated on social media throughout the surgery.

"Guys she's in recovery! She's out! Doctor called and said everything went well!" Ms Rovero wrote in a post three days ago.

The American model contracted TSS in 2012 after using a tampon while on her period.

The disease is a rare but life-threatening condition caused by bacteria entering the body and releasing harmful toxins. It can be fatal if not treated quickly.

Ms Wasser first started suffering from flu-like symptoms, which culminated in a heart attack which left her on life support.

Gangrene began to consume both of her legs, which led to a below-the-knee amputation of her right leg and toe amputations on her left foot.

Although doctors recommended amputating both legs at the time, Ms Wasser decided to try to save her left leg.

But the model revealed in a column for InStyle in November that she would soon lose that leg too.

“I’m in daily excruciating pain,” she wrote. “I have a golden leg that I am completely proud of, but my left foot that has an open ulcer, no heel, and no toes.

“Over the years, my body has produced a lot of calcium, which causes my bones to grow on that foot. Basically, my brain is telling my toes to grow back—and it got to the point where I need surgery to shave the bone down because it becomes too unbearable to walk.”

“In a few months, I’m inevitably going to have my other leg amputated. There’s nothing I can do about it.”

In a social media post shortly before the amputation, Ms Wasser seemed upbeat about her future.

“Life is about to be so different, again! I’m in great spirits though and ready for my next chapter,” she wrote.

Since the first amputation, Ms Wasser has dedicated her time to raising awareness about TSS prevention, including the potential risks of using tampons.

“What I can do is help make sure that this doesn’t happen to others,” she wrote in November.

She is campaigning for the US government to pass the Robin Danielson Act, named after a woman who lost her life to TSS.

The bill directs the National Institutes of Health to support research on the extent to which components (including fragrances and dyes) in feminine hygiene products pose any health risks to the women who use them.

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