A NURSE who suffered a stroke after having a facial treatment has spoken of the cruel impact it has had on her life.
Elizabeth Hughes, from Gosport, suffered a stroke just days after she had a facial treatment at Eastwell Manor, in Kent, five years ago.
I have lost my independence which is horrible. I depend on my husband to do almost everything.Elizabeth Hughes
She collapsed while on holiday in Wales and was rushed to hospital, where doctors discovered a carotid artery in her neck had been damaged during the treatment.
The 51-year-old was left with a weakened arm, poor balance and reliant on her husband Andrew for care – and was forced to retire from her job at Gosport’s Royal Hospital Haslar.
Blaming the stroke on the facial treatment, Mrs Hughes sued Eastwell Manor Limited for damages, which her lawyers said could top £1.2m.
Medical experts representing both parties agreed the stroke occurred as a result of a dissection to the carotid artery and that it was probably caused when cream was massaged on to the sides of Elizabeth’s neck by the beauty therapist.
The issue of whether the beauty therapist was negligent or had applied an excessive degree of force was still in contention.
However, the case was last month settled before a High Court trial, with no admission of liability and Mrs Hughes secured a six-figure compensation.
But she has spoken of the life-changing impact of what was meant to be an enjoyable ladies’ day.
Mrs Hughes said: ‘While I was having the facial, the therapist put her thumbs down the side of my neck.
‘I had never had a facial before so I wasn’t sure what to expect but it was really painful.
‘I was in quite a bit of pain for the rest of the day while we had our other treatments done.’
The pain continued for the rest of the week and while visiting family in Wales, Mrs Hughes became sick and started having the symptoms of a stroke.
She was taken to hospital and scans confirmed the worst.
Mrs Hughes was moved to Queen Alexandra Hospital in Cosham and stayed there for six weeks, when doctors found the carotid artery in her neck had been damaged.
‘The doctors asked if I had been in a car crash or suffered a major injury recently which I hadn’t,’ she added.
‘All I could think of was the pain I had suffered during the facial.’
Since suffering the stroke Mrs Hughes says her life has changed dramatically.
She has lost use of her left arm and sometimes loses her balance, causing people to think she is drunk.
Mrs Hughes said: ‘I was a nurse for 30 years but when my dad was sick, I wasn’t able to care for him because of what happened.
‘I have lost my independence which is horrible. I depend on my husband to do almost everything.
‘It has ruined my independence as I cannot drive and I get very tired so cannot always enjoy days or nights out.
‘Even after five years I am still being affected by it – although I do consider myself lucky because I could have died.’
‘It had taken five years just to get to the High Court and has been a really stressful time. I am relieved that it is over.’
Mrs Hughes now wants to warn others to be aware if they feel pain in their neck during any activity.
‘I wasn’t sure what the pain was,’ she said. ‘I left it for a week and eased the pain by taking painkillers.
‘People should be aware that any pain in their neck could be worse than what they think.
‘When the doctors were trying to find out what had caused my stroke, they listed a lot of things which could have caused it.
‘People need to be aware.’