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Holidaymaker who nearly lost foot warns of cheap holiday tattoos

A 54-year-old holidaymaker from Irvine in North Ayrshire, Scotland, faced the possibility of having her foot amputated after paying for a cheap tattoo on holiday in Turkey.

Susan Fraser and her partner Tom McQuillan had just arrived for a two-week holiday in Marmaris in April when she paid a tattoo studio £25 for a tattoo of vine leaves, hearts and stars on her foot.

Within hours the tattoo caused her foot to swell – the tattoo later began bleeding and discharging pus and caused unbearable pain.

“By the end of the holiday, it was the size of a balloon and oozing blood. It was horrendous,” said Ms Fraser.

She returned to the tattooist, who told her she must have got salt water in the tattoo or her sandals had caused the problem. Ms Fraser had never swum on holiday and added the tattooist said she should change her shoes and the matter “wasn’t his problem”.

The infected right foot continued to deteriorate, was “sore and burning” –and made walking difficult.

On returning home Ms Fraser was immediately taken by ambulance from Glasgow airport to be treated at Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock.

The severe infection failed to respond to three different types of antibiotic administered intravenously over the course of the next month and doctors warned Ms Fraser that she might lose her foot.

A fourth antibiotic worked, however, and skin grafts were not needed – but the supermarket worker says the scars still turn red when she has been on her feet for any length of time.

“One thing I'm sure of is that I'll never get a tattoo abroad again,“ said Ms Fraser. “Too many people do it without understanding the risks.”

Dated: 22/08/2012

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