Maddy with her mum Dawn before she fell ill. Source: The Sun
Maddy with her mum Dawn before she fell ill. Source: The Sun

Girl dies in mum's arms from toxic shock syndrome

By the time that Dawn realised her daughter was dying - it was too late.

"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," the mum, from the US, told The Sun.

Just like that, a healthy fit young woman was gone - three days after her 19th birthday.

"We had visited her brother, Georgie, and - as always - on March 27 for her birthday we went for a meal. She was well throughout the meal but on the way home she started feeling ill," her mum explained.

"Maddy arrived home and had diarrhoea, a fever and vomiting. We both thought it was just a bug - the kind we've all had before."

Dawn looked after Maddy throughout the night, but her condition didn't improve.

"Still, I wasn't unduly concerned as she was a really healthy young woman who exercised and ate well. There was no reason why she should have been so ill," she admits.

However, Dawn woke on the second morning to see her girl had continued to deteriorate.

"She could hardly move. I got her up to walk and she moved just a few feet but she was like a robot, barely able to function,"she said.

"Then, within minutes, she had deteriorated rapidly. She was dying."

Dawn called the paramedics who tried to resuscitate Maddy, as she had lost consciousness.

She was then rushed straight into intensive care, where they discovered all her organs had shut down.

"I made the decision for them to turn off her ventilator on March 30. It was the only thing that was keeping her alive," Dawn said.

"They were fighting away at her, but she wasn't getting better. It wasn't fair on her. But it was the hardest thing I have ever done.

"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."

An investigation into Maddy's death found that she was wearing a tampon and had gone into toxic shock.

"TSS (toxic shock syndrome) ravages a body within days and that is what happened to Maddy."

"She was only 19, she had her whole life ahead of her. I knew she had her period, I changed the trash. But she was changing her tampon like she was supposed to, she was doing everything right."

Understandably, Dawn is still haunted by the moment her girl passed away.

"I still have nightmares about that. No one wants to say goodbye to their child."

TSS is caused by either staphylococcus or streptococcus bacteria .

These bacteria normally live harmlessly on the skin, nose or mouth, but if they get deeper into the body they can release toxins that damage tissue and stop organs working.

Leaving tampons in for longer than the recommended time can increase your risk of developing TSS.

Dawn and Georgie launched charity Don't Shock Me to raise awareness for more women to be aware of the dangers of wearing tampons can cause.

"They are a breeding ground for bacteria and ideally I want them banned," Dawn said.

"But I want at least for big letters to say on the packet the dangers associated with them.

"I want the dangers to be explained in health classes in schools."

The pair are campaigning for these changes to be made.

"Maddy would want that too. I am doing this with her blessing. She was so kind and always happy," Dawn said.

"She was a friend to everyone, never leaving anyone out. She loved life so much. Her beautiful smile and contagious laugh filled a room with joy. She would not want her death to be in vain."

This originally appeared on Kidspot and has been republished with permission.

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