On Sunday July 11, 2010 our daughter Brittany, then 15 came down with flu like symptoms with vomiting, diarrhea & high fever…she continued with this for 3 days. On Wednesday July 14, 2010 she became clearly critical with different symptoms…she had a red rash that covered her upper torso & her legs were a deep dark purplish color, she had temporary blindness and was having a hard time breathing also she couldn’t feel her fingers or her toes! We had been in constant contact with her pediatrician since Monday and when we spoke with him that morning with the change in symptoms, we were told to rush her to the emergency room. Brittany was taken to West Hills Hospital in West Hills, California that morning. At this point she was already in muti-organ failure & was only hanging on by a thread! The ER doctors diagnosed her pretty quickly with (TSS) Toxic Shock Syndrome. A breathing tube was immediately inserted so she could breathe and she was then heavily sedated.
Later on that evening she was transported by ambulance to Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles where she was in critical condition in the PICU for 3 weeks in full kidney failure and a total of 10 days of that on life support…Brittany was finally released from the hospital after a long 5 weeks on Monday August 16, 2010, the same day she was suppose to start back to school for her junior year. She was home schooled for the first semester & was able to returned back to school for the second semester.
It’s hard to believe that this all started from the use of a tampon. It was not because she left it in too long, like people assume. The doctors believe it was a piece of tampon fiber that had broken off inside her & then dissolved into her bloodstream. The doctors also told us that Brittany was the sickest patient in the hospital at that time & that she was as close to death that you can possibly get without dying…The doctors didn’t think she was going to pull though this one!
Brittany had surgery on her toes Tuesday September 21, 2010 to remove all the black dead tissue from all her toes & partial amputation of her two big toes. She was very lucky because when she was in ICU the Plastic Surgeon told us that more than likely she would have to have half her feet amputated…luckily that did not happen since Brittany is a varsity softball player at her high school and she is also on a softball travel team during the off season. Her toes do bother her and are very sensitive every now and then! Her hair also fell out in clumps…kinda like a cancer patient but not as severe and it still hasn’t come back to it’s normal state! She gets real bad migraines, which started when she was in the hospital and she never ever had migraines before she got sick! We were also told by the doctors that Brittany might not ever be able to have children…but that is something we will have to wait and see.
No one should ever have to go through this kind of pain! As a parent not knowing if your child is going to live or die and that there is nothing you can do to help your child was the hardest thing possible! Brittany beat the odds and survived this deadly infection…Thank God!! She is a blessing & a true miracle!!
Our word of advice for everyone out there is to educate yourself on the true facts about TSS. Don’t have the presumption that this can’t happen to you! Just remember… although you don’t hear much about it, doesn’t mean it is not happening! You just never know…why take the chance!
David and Shelly Kanovsky
If you or a loved one has suffered from tampon related TSS, we would like to hear from you. Please contact us here.