Burned for beauty: Woman suffers 2nd-degree burns at nail salon
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - A day at the spa turned into weeks of excruciating pain and distress for a local woman. She says she lost time at work, was unable to walk and went into a deep depression.
Alexis Marshall is finally able to walk without pain, but the scars she carries will be with her forever.
"It's just, it was almost like a 'why me' situation. Like why did this have to happen to me," said Marshall.
It was July 28, 2022. Marshall was going to a wedding that night. She like many women decided to get a pedicure so she could wear sandals. She went to Mansion Nail Lounge in south Wichita, a spa she'd gone to before.
During the pedicure, Marshall says the nail tech put a clay mask on her lower legs followed by hot orange slices. She then wrapped her shins with plastic wrap. That's when Marshall says she went into shock.
"And by the time that I really knew that something was wrong, my body had just gone into shock," said Marshall. "I couldn't hear. I like, I started to like, feel my ears ringing, and I was having a hard time like hearing the music and everything. I could feel myself like actively passing out."
Twenty minutes later when the nail tech unwrapped her legs, blisters had already begun forming. When she showed the workers, she says they took her to the back and put some type of burn cream on her legs, gave her a refund and sent her on her way.
"We don't want this to happen to anyone," said the manager of Mansion Nail Lounge, Vanessa Chau. She said what happened was a terrible accident.
"It was unfortunate that day that the orange slices were in the back of the fridge," said Chau. "So the pedicure lady was thinking it would be a good decision to heat it up in the microwave so it wouldn't be frozen on Alexis' legs."
She says using fruit is common practice in nail salons. It makes the skin soft she says. But she adds the fruit should never be heated up. Something she says her salon has never done before.
Those heated oranges left their mark.
Hours after the pedicure, Marshall had large blisters on her shins.
So painful, she couldn't sleep, walk or work, for weeks.
"It had gotten so bad, my legs were in so much pain that I would have to lower myself onto the ground and kind of crawl around the house," said Marshall.
Marshall went to the doctor several times. She was diagnosed with second degree burns, then a staph infection. Something medical experts call it a super bug, because it's very contagious and resilient to many antibiotics.
"That was definitely terrifying. Because during that time, I was not allowed to have anybody around me," said Marshall.
The State Board of Cosmetology shows, the salon is licensed and inspected, but the executive director has a message for anyone who gets injured at a salon.
"Don't feel bad for walking out," said Executive Director of the Kansas Board of Cosmetology, Ben Foster. "If this doesn't meet my standards, even when you sit down to receive the service, you don't want to pick up disease, just to get your nails done."
He says he won't comment on what Marshall says happened to her, but if his board gets a complaint, an inspector will look into it.
"All the way up to revocation of licensure, we don't take what happens to you in a nail facility lightly and we will certainly investigate it," said Foster.
In the meantime, Marshall filed a lawsuit against Mansion Nail Lounge claiming negligence. She asked for more than a half a million dollars for her pain and suffering. The two sides settled for $70,000.
Marshall says it's not about the money but about the message.
"If your body is telling you like, 'hey, something's not right,' speak up. And I wish I would have at least, you know, yelled or something," she said.
The salon says the tech who was involved felt so bad, she walked out and never came back again. The manager says she told other salons about what happened and warned them never to heat up fruit before using it on someone's skin.
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