A 15-year-old Michigan girl is off life support and showing signs of recovery after being diagnosed with one of the worst cases of toxic shock syndrome her doctors had ever seen.
Rylie Whitten’s pediatric critical care physician told TODAY the teen was “as close to death as a human being can be.”
Whitten was admitted to the intensive care unit at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids on Jan. 5 and was being kept alive with a heart and lung bypass machine, TODAY reported.
The athletic teen, a cheerleader, soccer player and violinist from Greenville, reportedly developed toxic shock syndrome from overgrowth of the staph A bacteria, possibly caused by the tampons she was using at the time.
Family members said Whitten will still have minor issues and rehab to overcome, but they are “blessed and ecstatic” about her recovery.
Her parents said Whitten first mentioned she wasn’t feeling well on Jan. 3. By the next morning, she had body aches and vomited and her family thought she had the flu. But her condition quickly worsened and Whitten was rushed to the hospital via helicopter, TODAY reported.
Whitten was unconscious at the hospital for nearly two weeks, but as of Wednesday, she was reportedly beginning to speak to her parents.
Toxic shock syndrome is a rare, life-threatening complication involving certain types of bacterial infections, according to Mayo Clinic. It has historically been associated primarily with the use of super-absorbent tampons, but its presence has declined since manufacturers pulled certain types of tampons off the market.
It can affect men, children and postmenopausal women, health officials said.
Symptoms include a sudden high fever, low blood pressure, vomiting or diarrhea, a rash resembling a sun burn, confusion, muscle aches, redness of the eyes, mouth and throat, seizures and headaches.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help support the Whitten family. As of Wednesday, more than $4,700 had been raised to help with her care.