While a trip to the nail salon is not exactly high up on the list of risky activities, a woman was forced to have her finger amputated after a manicure left her with a life-threatening infection.
Jose Jackson, 57, had to get the top of her index finger surgically removed and nearly lost her “whole arm” when she was accidentally “jabbed” in the cuticle during an acrylic nail appointment in December 2017.
Shortly afterwards, the grandmother contacted a staph infection, caused by the bacteria staphylococcus with symptoms including hot, swollen skin - and it can be treated with antibiotics if caught early.
However, at the time she thought nothing of it, and only visited the hospital after it swelled up until it was “purple” and “weeping” puss.
When doctors removed the bandage Jose had wrapped it in, she claims her finger was so misshapen, it looked like a “jagged mountain range”.
They had no choice but to amputate the affected area until the infection was completely removed - leaving her with a half a finger.
The gran underwent two one-hour operations in January 2018.
It was discovered during a health inspection that the tools at the salon had not been cleaned properly between customers, and she went on to win a settlement for her injury.
Although Jose struggled, she’s learning to adjust to life with one less finger, and is hoping to raise awareness for the importance of cleanliness in nail bars.
The pub manager said: "Losing my finger has completely changed my life.
"When I got to hospital, they bought medical students in because they'd never seen an infection so bad.
"I wanted to treat myself to a manicure so I felt nice, but it ended up ruining my life and costing me a finger.
"The top of my finger looked like a jagged mountain range at first.
“The infection had literally eaten away at my finger and my bone.
"The doctors removed over half my finger, it was either that, or I lose my whole arm.
"Without that finger I can't grip or do up buttons - it's changed the way I do everything."
Jose booked an appointment with a nail salon to get a set of acrylic nails in December 2017.
During the treatment, the nail technician accidentally slipped while using a cuticle pusher tool and “jabbed” her nail bed.
Despite the discomfort, Jose didn't want to make a fuss, and got the set finished.
She said: “I rarely get my nails done, it’s usually for special occasion like a wedding.
“But I decided to treat myself around Christmas. The lady doing my nails had completed one hand when she moved onto the next, she was suddenly distracted by the door opening.
“Her hand slipped and she ‘jabbed’ my nail which drew a bit of blood. I jumped out of my seat from the sharp pain and although it bled a little, it wasn't too bad.
“Also I didn’t want to make a fuss and thought I’d look silly with just one hand done so I let her carry on. I had no idea how bad it would turn out to be.”
Over the next week it got worse, and she went to visit her GP who prescribed her antibiotics - however it still didn’t improve.
Jose continued: "Unfortunately I now know it was the wrong medication to treat the infection but by that point, it was too late."
She went back to her GP in “agony” - and he urged her to go to the hospital for an x-ray.
When she got there, the gran recalled: "The surgeon said: 'I don't know how you've gone for two weeks with this.'
“It was painful but I didn’t realise how bad things were until the x-ray came back. The infection and literally eaten away at my finger and my bone.”
Jose was diagnosed a staph infection, which develops from the bacteria staphylococcus entering the skin through a cut.
Doctors were unable to save the tip of her finger and she was sent for surgery to amputate the tip in January 2018.
Unfortunately, when the surgeon returned to check-up on Jose, he decided to remove even more of her finger.
Jose said: “He said if he didn’t remove more then I might lose my hand or even my whole arm.
“I just told him to cut off whatever he needed to. He said I was incredibly brave but I just wanted to save as much as I could.”
Jose explained that losing part of her finger has changed her life, leaving her unable to “grip a pen or my toothbrush.
“I couldn’t open cans, do up buttons and I couldn’t play my guitar anymore.
“I was constantly dropping things - you don’t realise how much you use that finger until it’s gone.”
Six weeks after surgery, she contacted a health inspector in her area who conducted a check of the nail salon, which she suspected may have been the origin of her infection.
They concluded the tools used on nails were not disinfected between uses, and she contacted a solicitor who helped her seek compensation against her bar - ultimately winning an out of court settlement with a five-figure payout.