A Fort Worth woman says in a lawsuit she had to have part of a finger amputated after it got infected at a salon during a manicure.
Helen Cook is suing the salon, Bui Nails, in the 2500 block of Oakland Blvd.
Salon managers declined to comment, citing pending litigation.
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Cook said she had gone to Bui before without any problems.
So she returned for another manicure.
"They did a good job the first time they did it so I decided to go back,” she said.
But this time, she says, there was a problem.
"Yeah I think about it but I try not to,” she said.
Her daughter says she was with her and remembers her mother's finger getting nicked.
"She said, 'Ouch, that hurt.' And after that, the lady was like, 'I'm sorry,'" said her daughter Tieasha Cook.
Within hours her finger swelled up, they said. And within a few days, it got so swollen she went to the emergency room.
"The doctor told me they had to cut it because it was infected real bad,” Cook said.
She said it was infected with gangrene.
She was admitted to John Peter Smith Hospital.
Doctors amputated the top part of her left middle finger.
"It won't bend,” she said, holding up her hand.
Photos she took in the hospital show the rest of her nails still freshly manicured after the surgery.
"Some things I can feel, some I can't,” Cook said of her shortened finger now.
The Cooks hired a lawyer, Austin Hartley of Carrolton, who investigated and filed the lawsuit on their behalf.
"I don't think any amount of money will be able to ever replace not being able to use your finger,” Hartley said.
The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation -- TDLR -- regulates nail salons.
But a public records search indicates Bui has never been inspected.
The reason? The agency says Bui is simply not on its radar because it never got a license as state law requires.
But how's a customer to know?
The salon has a large sign out front advertising its name.
You can also find it online -- with dozens of reviews and 3-and-a-half stars.
TDLR spokeswoman Tela Mange says customers should actually ask to see the salon's license.
It’s a separate and independent requirement from the individual technician's license, Mange said.
Also, look for signs of cleanliness or lack of cleanliness like unemptied trash cans or nail clippings not properly discarded, TDLR recommends.
The Cooks say they're no longer going to any salon because they’re afraid of what might happen.
"If you are getting your nails done, you might want to be careful about where you're going, if it's clean, if they have a license, if they're actually supposed to be doing it,” the daughter said.
State inspectors can shut down unlicensed salons but only if they happen to notice them or someone complains, Mange said.