Toronto woman gets pedicure, infection then has toe amputated

Click to play video: 'Surgeon amputated woman’s big toe after pedicure burn, infection'
Surgeon amputated woman’s big toe after pedicure burn, infection
WATCH: Surgeon amputated woman’s big toe after pedicure burn, infection – Mar 16, 2023

Gaitri Singh has gone for manicures and pedicures at salons for years without any issues.

“Never, never, never,” a problem, said Singh.

But the foot care treatment she received at a Toronto hair and nail salon last November was a costly one: a few weeks afterward, a surgeon had to amputate the large toe on her right foot after an infection and exposed bone couldn’t be successfully treated.

“It was shocking, I wasn’t expecting that,” Singh told Global News in an interview at her apartment, choking back tears as she described what happened after the pedicure.

She praised the medical care she received at Toronto’s Sunnybrook Hospital.

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Singh says she spent four days there when she was first admitted in late December, and another 12 days in hospital after she was readmitted with complications from the injury and required additional surgery in February.

The issues began after a visit to Lulu Elegance, a hair and nail salon on St. Clair Avenue West that Singh she had patronized for several years.

Her hairstylist worked there and she had paid for manicures and pedicures there in the past.

But Singh says when she had the nail polish procedure known as Shellac applied at the salon, the technician using the ultraviolet machine to dry the nails must have used it too long. When she got home, she says it was obvious something was wrong because she was in acute pain.

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“It was burned, very burned,” Singh said, referring to her right toe.

She says she cleaned the wound with hydrogen peroxide, used an antibiotic ointment and took warm baths with salts, hoping the wound would heal.

“It wasn’t getting better; the skin was ripping apart,” she said.

A few days later, Singh went to the emergency department at Mt. Sinai Hospital, was later sent to see plastic surgeons at Toronto General Hospital. She was eventually referred to the burn unit at Sunnybrook Hospital.

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“Due to exposed bone, she underwent revision amputation,” on Dec. 30, according to hospital records Singh provided to Global News.

Since November, Singh says she has not been able to return to work as a Montesorri teacher. The 60-year-old widow says she does not have sick leave benefits and is self-supporting.

The owner of the Lulu Elegance says his salon is not responsible for what happened to Singh.

“It’s not a sanitary problem, the person suffered certain burns after they tried to cure the Shellac,” said Mohamed Manar, who runs the salon and New Sat Computer Plus just up the street.

Manar says the technician who performed the pedicure has since left the salon voluntarily.

The salon owner says Singh bears responsibility because she is diabetic and may be at greater risk of injury as a result.

“Uh, no,” said Manar, when asked if his salon is in any way to blame. “It happened because she is diabetic, whatever happened to her toe is because she is diabetic,” Manar said in a telephone interview.

He declined to be interviewed on camera with Global News.

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“In her case … she should tell them she is diabetic … and should not do it … and she should know,” said Manar.

“Any doctor will tell you a diabetic person should not do Shellac,” Manar insisted.

The salon owner confirmed he has not reached out to Singh since the amputation in late December.

Singh says the technician was aware of her diabetes and had not warned her that she was at any special risk because of her medical condition.

On its website, the American Diabetes Association points out that “people with diabetes are far more likely to have a foot or leg amputated than other people.”

The reason, according to the association, is that many people with diabetes also have peripheral artery disease (PAD) which reduces blood flow to the feet.

The association points out that “one of the biggest threats to your feet is smoking” which affects small blood vessels.

“Most amputations are preventable by checking your feet daily, go to regular visits with your doctor, and wear proper footwear,” the association advises.

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Its official website offers no advice or warning about pedicures.

Singh’s recovery is slow. She walks with the aid of a walking boot and a cane.

She has not taken legal action against the salon. At the time she spoke to Global News she had not sought a legal opinion, she said.

For now, Singh is warning others about the possible risks of pedicures.

“I don’t want this to happen to another person,” she said. “Toes don’t grow back.”

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