After having part of her leg amputated in 2012 due to the effects of toxic shock syndrome, model Lauren Wasser is now facing a second amputation.
As the Washington Post reports, Wasser reveals that her struggle with this little-understood medical malady is far from over, telling the Post that it’s likely inevitable that she’ll have to have her other leg amputated as well due to the “excruciating pain” she still experiences.
Wasser developed the condition when she was just 24. Commonly associated with using tampons, toxic shock syndrome is caused by toxins from the Staphylococcus aureus (staph) bacteria, and can result in complications ranging from organ failure to limb loss, and can even be fatal.
Wasser, 29, is using her high profile to advocate for legislation that would require the National Institutes of Health to undertake research to determine the safety of tampons and other feminine hygiene products.
“I think this is my purpose and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Wasser told the Post. “I’m an athlete — my legs were everything. I had no idea what my life would be like without them.”
In 2015, Wasser’s family filed a lawsuit against Kimberly-Clark, the manufacturer of Kotex tampons, alleging that the company was “unlawfully responsible” for Wasser’s condition. While Wasser wouldn’t comment about the lawsuit, the company told the Post that the suit had been settled.