Michigan teen fights toxic shock syndrome

Posted at 9:43 AM, Jan 21, 2016

A west Michigan teenager is in a Grand Rapids hospital, after almost dying from toxic shock syndrome.

Now 15-year-old Rylie Whitten is off life support and on the road to recovery.

The teenager has been in the hospital in intensive care for the past two weeks, fighting toxic shock syndrome, with doctors saying it's one of the worst cases of this yet.

Toxic shock syndrome is a rare infection caused by staph and strep bacteria.

Doctors say she developed it from the overgrowth of staph A bacteria likely from the tampons she was using.

Rylie, a high school sophomore from Greenville, first came down with flu-like symptoms on January 4, 2016.

Her parents just figured she needed to rest up and kept her home from school that Monday.

But by the next day, Rylie was in pain and vomiting.

Her parents took her to the doctor who conducted a blood test which alerted her family that she had a rare and life threatening infection.

She was flown to Grand Rapids by helicopter for treatment.

After spending two weeks in intensive care hooked up to machines, even at some point suffering kidney failure, Rylie is now out of intensive care.

Doctors at Devos Children's Hospital, concluded a tampon likely was to blame for Rylie coming very close to death.

Experts say while anyone can get toxic shock syndrome, there are higher cases in women who are on their period and use tampons, particularly the "super absorbent" tampons.

Menstruating women are urged not to used that kind, and should also change their tampons often.

Finally, never leave a tampon in overnight, and instead switch to a pad.

Rylie still has a long way to go before she is 100 percent again, but her parents are just grateful their daughter survived this nightmare.