A heartbroken mother who lost her daughter to toxic shock syndrome from wearing a tampon has told how the 19-year-old passed away in her arms as she ‘begged her not to die’.
Dawn Massabni, 56, from New Jersey, admitted she is still haunted by the moment Maddy lost her fight on March 30 earlier this year.
The fashion student, who celebrated her birthday just three days earlier, was out for dinner with her family when she began feeling unwell.
Her condition deteriorated rapidly over the next couple of days until Dawn desperately called the paramedics when Maddy lost consciousness.
Dawn Massabni, 56, from New Jersey, admitted she is still haunted by the moment daughter Maddy, 19, passed away on March 30 earlier this year. Pictured together
She was whisked to intensive care, but the deadly condition had caused her organs to shut down and Dawn was faced with the harrowing decision to turn off her life support.
Now the grieving mother is eager to raise awareness of the dangers of TSS and is calling for tampons to carry more prominent safety warnings.
Speaking to Fabulous Digital, Dawn told how Maddy was on her period but changing her tampon regularly as per the guidelines.
On March 27, while dining out with her brother Georgie during the spring break, she began to feel ill and developed diarrhoea, fever and vomiting.
Fashion student Maddy, who had celebrated her birthday just three days earlier, was out for dinner with her family when she began feeling unwell after developing toxic shock syndrome. Pictured: Dawn and Maddy
Believing her daughter was suffering from a bug, Dawn cared for her overnight but she was still poorly the following morning.
Dawn said she wasn’t ‘unduly concerned’ as Maddy was ‘a really healthy young woman who exercised and ate well’.
Dawn switched off Maddy’s life support on March 30
But by March 29, Maddy was in a critical condition, barely able to move or function.
‘Then, within minutes, she had deteriorated rapidly,’ Dawn told the publication.
‘She was dying. TSS ravages a body within days and that is what happened to Maddy.
‘I had my arms around her saying, “Don’t leave me, I love you.” She died there, in my arms, in her bed. It was awful.’
Dawn said switching off her daughter’s life support was the hardest thing she’s ever done, but it ‘wasn’t fair’ on Maddy to keep her alive as she wasn’t getting any better.
‘She was my little girl and my best friend. Along with her brother we were a team. I didn’t want her to go. But she had total organ failure,’ she said.
The investigation into Maddy’s death found she’d been wearing a tampon and had gone into toxic shock, which is caused by either staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria.
Dawn revealed she still has nightmares about the moment she had to say goodbye to her child.
The investigation into Maddy’s death found she’d been wearing a tampon and had gone into toxic shock, which is caused by either staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria. Pictured with Dawn
She and Georgie are now campaigning to raise the profile of TSS, and have set up a foundation called Don’t Shock Me in honour of Maddy, which raises money to peak awareness via speaking engagements and literature.
The foundation is also lobbying to change women’s health policy on a national level to boost awareness of the illness.
The money it raises pays for travel and associated expenses to fulfill the mission of speaking to and educating young women at colleges and high schools throughout the United States about the symptoms of toxic shock and risks associated with tampon use.
Dawn said she would like to see tampons banned altogether, but at the very least would like to see clearer messaging on the packaging about the dangers of TSS.
Dawn and Maddy’s brother Georgie are now campaigning to raise the profile of TSS, and have set up a foundation called Don’t Shock Me in honour of Maddy, which raises money to peak awareness via speaking engagements and literature. Pictured: Dawn with Mrs New Jersey at the Beauty and the Beach run expo earlier this month
A statement on the Don’t Shock Me website reads: ‘Maddy had aspirations to finish college, go into the fashion industry and travel the world. She had done some modeling and was on the cover of a magazine.
‘She had so many friends that loved her and shared so many wonderful times together. Family was most important to her and they shared a very unique and special bond.
‘Her mother and brother were her best friends. She believed that as a team they could do anything together, conquering all things in life. Her life now lives on through everyone who knew her and will never be forgotten.’
What is toxic shock syndrome?
Toxic shock syndrome is a highly dangerous bacterial infection – but it can be misdiagnosed because the symptoms are similar to other illnesses and because it is so rare.
It occurs when usually harmless staphylococcus aureus or streptococcus bacteria, which live on the skin, invade the bloodstream and release dangerous toxins.
TSS’ prevalance is unclear but doctors have claimed it affects around one or two in every 100,000 women.
It has a mortality rate of between five and 15 per cent. And reoccurs in 30-to-40 per cent of cases.
Symptoms usually begin with a sudden high fever – a temperature above 38.9°C/102°F.
Within a few hours a sufferer will develop flu-like symptoms including headache, muscle aches, a sore throat and cough.
Nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, feeling faint, dizziness and confusion are also symptoms.
Women are most at risk of getting toxic shock syndrome during menstruation and particularly if they are using tampons, have recently given birth or are using an internal barrier contraceptive, such as a diaphragm.
While tampon boxes advise to change them between four to eight hours, it is common for women to forget and leave them in overnight.
Treatment may involve antibiotics to fight the infection, oxygen to help with breathing, fluids to prevent dehydration and organ damage, and medication to control blood pressure.
Dialysis may also be needed if the kidneys stop functioning.
In severe cases, surgery may be required to remove dead tissue. In rare incidences, it may be necessary to amputate the affected area.
To prevent TSS, women should use tampons with the lowest absorbency for their flow, alternate between a tampon and a sanitary towel, and wash their hands before and after insertion.
Tampons should also be changed regularly, as directed on the packaging – usually every four to eight hours.