Here, Emma Tarrant, 33, tells the story in her own words.
S￼oaking my feet in the warm water, I relaxed. For 10 years, I’d gone to the local nail salon as my monthly treat.
A technician I hadn’t seen before began timidily clipping my nails. She must be nervous, I thought.
Taking a foot razor, she shaved dead skin off my heels. Suddenly I heard her cry out. Looking down, I saw blood all over the floor. ‘Oh no!’ I cried, staring at my foot in shock. A chunk was missing from my heel!
Panicking, she plunged it back into the soapy water, full of clippings, dirt and dead skin. I yelled in agony. The pain was so bad I thought I’d faint and blood poured out.
‘What are you doing?’ shouted the manager. ‘Take her foot out!’ So she did – then applied cotton wool to my wound! ‘Oh my God,’ I said.
I’ve done first aid so I knew it could shed fibres. Then about 20 band-aids were put on top. ‘I have to get myself to hospital,’ I said, and shakily stood up. But there was no way I could drive. I was bleeding too heavily and woozy with pain, so my mum, Tricia, 56, came.
Shocked, she drove me to Emergency. A nurse explained the cotton wool had to be immediately removed as I was at risk of infection from the dirty water.
I needed gas for the pain as it took 45 minutes to remove all the cotton wool with tweezers.
‘That woman butchered you,’ Mum said tearfully, as my foot was stitched up.
The next day, I returned to the nail salon, wanting them to stop using razors and train staff in first aid. ‘You’re right, I’m so sorry,’ the manager said.
He gave me $100 for bandages and a voucher for the salon.
My foot hurt for ages and I couldn’t walk properly for four months. Even having a shower was a problem. I also couldn’t wear closed shoes.
If cotton wool hadn’t been applied, it could have healed faster.
A year on, I can’t bear anyone touching my feet. Nowadays, I put foot cream and socks on before bed to keep my hard skin at bay. It’s a lot safer that way!
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