A teen claims she nearly died after falling asleep drunk and forgetting to change her tampon.
Ellie Makin said she developed toxic shock syndrome, but was dismissed by medics when she went to hospital for help.
The 18-year-old claims she was sent home, with doctors telling her she had “freshers flu”.
She had accidentally left in her tampon overnight after a night out, meaning it had been in for 12 hours.
The student woke to flu-like symptoms, nausea and dizziness, becoming sure she was ill with toxic shock syndrome.
She fainted and was taken to The University Hospital of North Durham by her university welfare tea, where she claims she told them about the tampon.
Ellie said she was discharged after three hours as doctors “dismissed” her concerns about toxic shock.
She claims they put her symptoms down to a viral infection as a result of going out drinking for university fresher celebrations.
But after she got worse the next day, doctors at Tameside General Hospital confirmed she had toxic shock syndrome and kept her in for five days.
The climate science student is now urging other teens to “trust their gut” and get a second opinion when they feel they’ve been dismissed.
Ellie, from Droylsden, Greater Manchester, said: “It had been freshers and I’d been going out quite a bit and I started to feel really run down with flu-like symptoms.
“My apple watch showed that my heart rate was 120 lying down when it’s normally 55, so that was concerning and I felt dizzy and sick as well.
“I’d drunkenly fallen asleep with a tampon in and left it in for 12 hours so I googled my symptoms and knew it was toxic shock.
“I told my mum and she rang welfare and they came to my door. When I answered the door I fainted so they took me to hospital.
“I had bloods done and they told me my white blood count was high but they couldn’t pinpoint where the infection was from so they just put it down as being a viral infection and discharged me.
“I knew it wasn’t a viral infection because I was dizzy and fainting – I said that I was worried it was toxic shock and told them about the tampon but they didn’t do anything about it.
“I feel like I was dismissed – they should’ve run the tests and not just put it down to freshers flu.”
‘Push for help’
Toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is a rare but potentially fatal condition caused by bacteria getting into the body and releasing harmful toxins.
The condition deteriorates rapidly and the infection can cause organ failure, or eventually death, if not treated immediately.
People using tampons are recommended to change them before going to sleep, and soon after waking up.
The teen now claims she’s dealing with relatively unknown long-term effects of the condition, including rapid hair loss, which has left her with a thinned hairline, and peeling skin on her hands and feet.
Ellie fears these effects could last up to six months after joining online support groups of people recovering from toxic shock syndrome and documenting the same struggles.
She said: “If there was even a chance it could’ve been toxic shock Durham Hospital should have run more tests, especially because of the fact that I’d left the tampon in for that long.
“They said it’s a fatal disease and you’re lucky to have caught it now. It was scary and made me feel annoyed about how Durham Hospital treated me.”
After her terrifying experience she now vows to be extra careful with tampons and is urging others to do the same and to make sure they push for a diagnosis if they have symptoms of toxic shock.
What are the symptoms of TSS?
- A fever and high temperature: of 39C (102F) or above
- Flu-like symptoms: headache, chills, muscle ache, sore throat, cough etc
- Feeling and/or being sick
- A widespread, sunburn-like rash
- Redness in the whites of your eyes, lips and tongue
- Dizziness and/or fainting
- Difficulty breathing
A spokesperson for County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said: “There are occasions when a patient develops further symptoms after leaving the care of our emergency department team, which would support a specific diagnosis.
“We encourage patients to return to hospital for further investigation when new symptoms emerge or existing symptoms persist.
“We’re sorry Ellie is unhappy with the care she received and would welcome an opportunity to discuss this and her overall experience with her, if she would find this helpful.”
This story originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced here with permission.