What started off as a” be kind to yourself day”, turned out to be an agonizing afternoon, resulting in me sustaining injuries to my left thumb at the hand of Glamour Nails of West Ashley.
At approximately 2:25 p.m., I signed in at Glamour Nails, Skylark Drive, Charleston SC on Friday, April 12, 2013, with the intention of getting a spa pedicure. After reading the menu, I noticed that the pedicure was $25 and the combination of the two, pedicure and manicure, was $35, so I opted for both services. I stood at the front desk for about 10 minutes examining the color selection, and trying to catch the eye of any of the techs. I was not acknowledged at all. I stood there for a few more minutes and finally asked another client where I could find a seat. She pointed me to the rear of the facility near the bar. A tech came over and asked me if I was requesting both services, meaning manicure and pedicure. It was then that I was summoned to take a seat at the tub.
After waiting for about 30 minutes in the client’s chair, which by the way, did not have a towel or paper covering on the headrest, I was greeted by Von (Vaughn), a Vietnamese nail technician, who stated during the course of our dialogue, that he had only been at this establishment for 2 weeks. He carried a chest that contained his instruments and supplies, none of which was in a sterile bag or germ-free container. I was sitting for about 15 minutes soaking my feet in the tub as I waited for service.
While pedicuring the left foot, Von’s hand slipped and he hurt the fourth toe on my left foot. It stung and turned red momentarily, but was okay after a while. When I yelled in response to the ***, , he also wailed. There were no other incidents with the feet.
Following the pedicure, he directed me to station 5 to be manicured. Again, the tools that he used were not enclosed in a sterile container. The manicure started off okay with the procedural hand massage, exfoliating, and moisturizing. Then he realized that he did not have the finger bowl. He filed my nails with an Emory board, rounding them as I requested. He began to trim and push back the cuticles on my right hand, then my left. The cuticle pusher slipped, severing the flesh on my thumb. Again I shouted. He shushed me and told me that he would put a bandage on it. He said he was very sorry for the injury and suggested that I return the next day and allow him to complete the manicure, or he could leave the injured finger for the next day. I agreed to come back on Saturday, April 13, 2013, for him to complete the thumbnail. He proceeded to complete the manicure by having me place my hands in the finger bowl that contained a soapy solution. I was certain to tell him that he hurt me very badly and that I was still bleeding. He apologized. He used a paper towel to absorb the blood and continued working on the other nails in an effort to complete the service. Von never put on gloves to use as a protective barrier between us as he made contact with my blood. He never gave me a cotton ball or tissue to stop the bleeding. This is a biological hazard!! Von did not exercise either the standard (use of gloves) or universal precautions of cosmetology as defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
Nevertheless, I told him that I was still bleeding and in excruciating pain. He expressed his regret and began spraying the affected area and pouring two different clear liquids on the open wound which made it burn severely. He used a third small container containing a green liquid that burned more than the other two liquids. Two of the containers had no labels. What were these substances? This is action is not in compliance with OSHA. SC Cosmetology Rule of Sanitation Bottles and Containers. Licensees and students must distinctly and correctly label all bottles and containers in use in a school or salon to disclose their contents. All bottles containing poisonous substances shall be additionally and distinctly marked as such. One of them burned me very badly, while the other did not burn too much. Again I yelled out and he made a similar noise, mimicking me. Thinking it was a superficial cut, I told him to apply direct pressure and then leave it alone. Again he promised me a bandage, but to no avail. What happened to the first aid kit?
SC Cosmetology Rule of Sanitation- 32-02-01-07.First-aid kit. Every cosmetology establishment shall have and maintain a complete first-aid kit in a readily accessible location on the premises. At a minimum, the first-aid kit must include adhesive dressings, gauze and antiseptic, tape, triple antibiotics, eyewash, and gloves.
He used the pumice square or buffer to remove the lines in my nails and noticed that I was still in pain and bleeding. He poured some green liquid on the open wound. Again I bellowed. He mimicked me trying to mask my cries. He continued to express remorse as he covered the same thumb with hopes of stopping the bleeding. I told him to leave it alone because now the open wound was burning severely in addition to being painful from the cut, which was about 1 cm long. At this point he had completed most of the manicure and directed me to wash my hands. I deposited my towel in the open receptacle where other soiled towels were placed. Clean towels were stored in the same immediate area. Incidentally, clean towels should have been stored in a closed cabinet. Of course applying direct pressure did not help the pain or the bleeding. SC Cosmetology Rule of Sanitation Towels (1) Used Towels to Be Discarded. After a towel has been used once, it must be deposited in a closed receptacle, and shall not be used again until properly laundered and sanitized. I stayed at the sink washing my hands for about two minutes, and trying to absorb the blood. Finally I tried to apply direct pressure, but I realized that the cut was deeper than I thought. He took out the little bottle with the green liquid, which I knew was going to burn. I adamantly cautioned him not to put that liquid on my thumb again. He complied. He concluded the manicure with the exception of the affected thumb, which he finally bandaged. He told me that the tool he was using was too sharp and he was going to throw it away. I did not believe that for one minute, especially if he just started working there two weeks ago. He asked me if I would like to sit at the nail bar to complete the drying process, as I might be more comfortable. I refused to move, as I was comfortable where I was. Then he insisted that I move to the bar because he might have another client. Von retrieved the “faulty” cuticle pusher and began trying to file it down for future use. He brought my shoes and a snack zip lock bag that contained an Emory board and pumice square (approximately 1 cm). I took out my credit card to pay him, but he insisted that I wait. At this point, I thought he was going to ring up only the pedicure. So I replaced the card in my pouch. He brought me a card for those persons who spend X$ in 5 visits. It awards the 6th visit as a free service. He stamped two instead of one of the visits because he felt remorseful about my unfortunate circumstances that he caused. Again I took out my credit card in an effort to pay for the pedicure. He told me that he could not honor the request, but the manager might. He and the manager conversed in their tongue for about three minutes. Von returned with the verdict: I had to pay for both services. Customer service was not stellar!
The technician implored with me three or four times not to sue him. He said that they had insurance if anything happens. Von took my card and returned with the receipt for me to sign. Of course I did not add a gratuity. I placed the disposable shoes in a basket, rather than a closed container, with other soiled foam disposable pedicure thongs. I left in agony. My thumb was throbbing and burning. On a scale of 1-10, the pain level was at a 10! As I left, Von expressed his dismay again as he pat me on the shoulder. The manager thanked me for my patronage as I proceeded toward the door to the parking lot.
This evening, I noticed that the thumb had begun to bleed again. I went to Nason’s Medical Center on Rivers Avenue near I-526, where I received a tetanus shot and in lieu of suturing the gash, the doctor on site glued the wound. He said, “I know that hurts.” “He got you good.” I paid $20 co-pay and was billed for the remaining $45. I have another bandage on the area and the thumb continues to throb at 10:00 p.m.
In essence, I do not feel this salon is following strict health and safety guidelines. It does not appear that the technician’s instruments were sterile and kept in a hygienic environment; the technician did not appear to be familiar with universal precautions to minimize the risk of becoming exposed to blood-borne pathogens and infectious conditions; the technician did not label all containers containing liquids that he used to stop my thumb from bleeding; the technician did not have/use a first aid kit to treat after my injury. On today, Friday April 12, 2013, there was no evidence that Glamour Nails Salon practiced or practices placing covers on the head rests of the chairs to prevent the spread of disease, nor did it have the proper containers for used and clean towels. SC Cosmetology Rule of Sanitation Headrests, Shampoo Bowls, and Treatment Tables. (1) Licensees and students must cover the headrest of chairs with a clean towel or paper sheet for each patron. Used or soiled disposable shoes are not placed in the appropriate container.
Furthermore, I do not feel that I should have to pay for services in which blood was drawn and pain inflicted.