A Doncaster mum is warning people about the ‘silent danger’ of toxic shock syndrome, after she fell into a coma and was left just two hours away from death.
When Joanna Cartwright, of Bentley, fell ill with a sore throat and other flu-like symptoms she expected to make a full recovery within days.
But a week on, the 28-year-old began falling in and out of consciousness and the skin had started peeling on her hands and feet.
It was at that point that her mum insisted she went to Doncaster Royal Infirmary, where medics told her she had toxic shock syndrome, caused by the use of a tampon, and her organs had begun to shut down.
Joanna was just minutes away from death.
The toxic shock syndrome, which is a rare bacterial condition, had caused her to contract meningitis and septicaemia, leaving medics with no choice but to put her into a coma.
“They told my family they didn’t know if I was going to make it,” said Joanna.
“I came out of the coma after eight days, but when I came out I didn’t know who my children were. I couldn’t remember anything.
“It came back eventually, but even now I can’t remember the six months to a year before it happened.
“I’ve lost memories like my daughter’s first steps and family holidays, I’ll never get them back.
“It’s the last thing you expect from a tampon. I’d used them plenty of times before that and never had any problems.
“I discharged myself when I was conscious, because I was so disorientated from what had happened.
“I think I’ve got post-traumatic stress from it, if I even get a sore throat now I worry it’s going to happen again.”
Joanna contracted toxic shock syndrome in 2012, and since then she has been ‘actively campaigning’ to raise awareness of the condition which is deadly in 50 per cent of cases.
She is due to appear on Friday’s Jeremy Kyle show on ITV1, with other people affected by the disorder, in a bid to highlight the dangers of the condition.
“It was quite nerve-racking but I’m glad I went on because I don’t want anyone else to go through what I have,” said Joanna.
“Even now I still suffer from hand tremors and my short-term memory is completely shot.
“My advice would be to take symptoms like a sore throat seriously if they continue.
“If I had left it longer before going to hospital I wouldn’t be here.
“I think it’s a good idea to make men aware of it too, because if they can spot the signs your partner can help and maybe save your life.”
n For more information on toxic shock syndrome and its symptoms please visit www.tssaware.org.uk