One teenage girl claims she “could have died” when she was allegedly sent home from hospital with “refreshing flu” – only to turn out to be toxic shock syndrome after falling asleep without taking out her tampon.
Ellie Makin fell asleep “drunk” before waking up with flu-like symptoms, nausea and dizziness.
The 18-year-old was rushed to North Durham University Hospital by her varsity welfare team when she passed out on October 6 where she claims she told them about the tampon.
She says she was released after three hours and that her symptoms were due to a viral infection.
After returning to her family, she woke up the next day with worse symptoms and was taken to Tameside General Hospital, where it was confirmed that she was in toxic shock – a life-threatening condition often associated with tampon use.
Ellie was in the hospital for five days.
The Droylsden climate science student, Tameside, said, “It had been fresher and I had gone out quite a bit and I was starting to feel really down with flu-like symptoms.
“My watch showed that my heart rate was 120 when lying down, when it was normally 55, so this was worrying and I also got dizzy and sick.
“I was drunk asleep with a tampon and left in it for 12 hours so I googled my symptoms and knew it was a toxic shock.
“I told my mom and she called Social Services and they came to my door. I passed out when I opened the door, so they took me to the hospital.
“I was given a blood test and they told me my white blood count was high, but they couldn’t tell where the infection was coming from, so they just classified it as a viral infection and released me.
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“I knew it wasn’t a viral infection because I felt dizzy and passed out. I said I was concerned it was toxic shock and told them about the tampon. “
Ellie says her mother picked her up and brought her home after three hours at Durham Hospital and after she was discharged with no treatment.
When their symptoms worsened the next day, the couple went to Tameside Hospital, where it was confirmed that Ellie had toxic shock syndrome, a condition caused by bacteria entering the body and releasing harmful toxins.
“The next day it got worse – my heart rate was 130 while lying down, my temperature was 40 degrees and I had a rash like sunburn all over my body,” added Ellie.
“I was concerned when the doctors at Tameside Hospital said it was a toxic shock, but it was a relief at the same time.
“I’m just glad it hasn’t moved to a more serious form because you end up on a ventilator or your fingers and toes may be amputated.
“They said it was a fatal disease and you are lucky to have caught them now. It was scary. “
Ellie added, “I will still be using tampons. But I’ll definitely be a lot more careful how long I keep them in now.
“You are taught this at school, but you never think it will happen to you because it is so rare.
“You should always follow your gut instinct and get a second opinion.
“Even if you have the slightest symptom, your best bet is to get checked because it is a fatal disease.”
A spokesman for the County Durham and Darlington NHS Foundation Trust said, “There are cases where a patient develops additional symptoms after leaving the care of our emergency room team, which would aid a particular diagnosis.
“We encourage patients to return to the hospital for further evaluation if new symptoms appear or if existing symptoms persist.
“We are sorry that Ellie is unhappy with the treatment she has received and we would appreciate the opportunity to discuss this and her general experience with her, if she finds this helpful.”
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