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Mum almost dies from sepsis after forgetting about toxic tampon for five days

Amy Williamson, 24, was left fighting for life in hospital when she accidentally left her tampon in which turned black and led to sepsis

By Laura Sharman & Chelsea Heatley

11:09, 10 OCT 2020Updated15:30, 10 OCT 2020

A mum almost died from sepsis after she forgot she was wearing a tampon for five days.  Amy Williams, 24, was left fighting for her life in hospital after her tampon turned black and led to toxic shock syndrome.  The condition can cause the body to go into septic shock, a serious case of sepsis, which can cause multiple organ failure and eventually death if left untreated.  Amy, from Basildon in Essex, said she was mortified when she realised she had accidentally left the tampon in for five days.  She is now speaking out to raise awareness of the rare, life-threatening condition in the hope that other women do not suffer the same trauma.  The PA, who works for the leader of Basildon Council, said: "Please, be careful when using tampons. It nearly cost me my life.  I had heard of toxic shock syndrome but didn't think it would ever happen to me.  I'd been using tampons for ten years, but I'll never use one again now.  I want to warn women and young girls to be extra careful when using them."

In June 2019, Amy was on a night out with her boyfriend, Samuel Mullen, 30, an IT account manager, when she went to the toilet to change her tampon.  When she couldn't find the string or feel the tampon, she thought she didn't have one in, so she applied another.  She said: "I was really drunk at the time and couldn't remember if I already had one in. Plus I couldn't locate it."

After that, Amy carried on changing her tampons as and when necessary.  But five days later, she noticed a pungent smell down below.  She said: "It smelt like death and it wasn't normal. So I got in the shower to wash, but the smell was still there after I got out and dried myself.  I laid down on the bed and checked inside myself. I felt something with my fingernail and it dawned on me that there was a tampon inside me. I was mortified."

Amy nearly passed out from the pain as she spent nearly half an hour trying to remove the tampon which had turned on its side.  She said: "When it came out, I felt an overwhelming rush, like I was going to faint.  The tampon was black. It was disgusting."

After that, Amy suffered with painful cramping in her lower abdomen.  Two days later, while at work, Amy began to feel nauseas and a colleague commented that she 'looked like she was on death's door'.  She was rushed to A&E at Basildon University Hospital and her temperature was a dangerous 40 degrees.  Upon arrival, Amy started vomiting.  She said: "They rushed me to a ward and hooked me up to an antibiotic drip while they took blood tests.  I'd told staff I'd left a tampon in for five days and they looked worried.  I was then informed that my CRP levels were 264, the normal amount was 5."

By this point, Amy's organs had started to fail and she had gone into septic shock and she was diagnosed with toxic shock syndrome shortly afterwards.  She said: "The doctor said to me that if I'd had gone home that day, I wouldn't have woken up. I was terrified.  I cried to the nurse and asked her if I'd ever see my three- year- old son, Archie again.  She reassured me I was in good hands."

For the next four days, Amy slipped in and out of consciousness while her body was pumped full of antibiotics to fight the blood poisoning.  Thankfully, after nearly a week in hospital she was discharged.  But she continued to be monitored at home and was on a course of antibiotics for ten days.  Since then, Amy has suffered heavy and irregular periods and she was even warned it could affect her chances of conceiving.  A year on, she is now expecting her second child.  Amy said: "I couldn't believe a tampon nearly killed me. I'll never use one again and now only use sanitary towels."