A MODEL who lost a leg and nearly died from toxic shock syndrome (TSS) is suing the company that makes the brand of tampon she used.

The family of Los Angeles model Lauren Wasser claim the instructions on Kotex tampons are confusing. As well as Kimberly-Clark Corporation, the makers of Kotex, Ms Wasser is also suing Kroger grocery stores, where she bought the tampons.

Ms Wasser told VICE she hopes the lawsuit will draw attention to the dangers of TSS, a complication of bacterial infections that can be brought on by wearing tampons for too long.

The California model, who appeared on the cover of Italian Vogue as a two-year-old, was 24 when she was hospitalized with the condition. At the time she was living the dream with an apartment in Santa Monica, nights out at LA parties and daytimes spent at acting classes and keeping her 1.8-metre perfect physique in trim with long bike rides.

Now 27, she told VICE: ?Everything was based on looks. I was that girl, and I didn?t even think about it.?

In October 2012 her envious lifestyle fell apart when she left a birthday party after complaining of feeling sick. She went to bed, spending the next day and night lying in her apartment.

The following morning her worried mum sent a friend over along with police to check on her. She was rushed to hospital with a fever of 41C.

As her internal organs began to shut down she suffered a massive heart attack. Panicked doctors couldn?t work out what was wrong until they called an infectious disease specialist who asked if she was wearing a tampon. The tampon she was wearing was sent to the labs and came back positive for TSS.

Over the coming hours the infection in her limbs turned to gangrene.

?It?s the most excruciating pain I?ve ever felt?I don?t know how to describe it to you,? she said.

Despite last-ditch efforts to fight off the gangrene, including oxygen therapy in a pressure chamber, she had to have her right leg amputated below the knee.

Her family have brought a lawsuit against Kimberly-Clark Corpotration in part, their lawyer says, to make a point about the dangers of the synthetic materials used in tampons.

TSS is a complication of bacterial infections usually involving staph bacteria. About 20 per cent of the population has the staph bacteria present in their bodies and this combined with prolonged tampon use can cause TSS.

The family also claim the disclaimer on the tampon box was not clear enough. The brand?s warning reads: ?Change your tampon every four to eight hours, including overnight?, which the family argues is confusing since it can mean longer than eight hours.