Holiday injury: cheap tattoo almost costs British tourist her foot


A British woman has narrowly avoided having a foot amputated after a low-cost holiday tattoo caused a severe infection.

Turkey Injury Accident

Susan Fraser, from Irvine, North Ayrshire, had the £25 tattoo applied to her right foot at a studio in the popular Mediterranean resort of Marmaris, Turkey.

A few hours after the procedure Ms Fraser's foot became infected and swollen, causing her great pain and making walking difficult for the duration of her 2-week holiday.

On her return to Scotland, Ms Fraser was taken by ambulance to Crosshouse Hospital in Kilmarnock. She remained at the hospital for a month after her holiday while physicians treated her injury.

At one point doctors expressed doubts about whether Ms Fraser's foot could be saved. Amputation was considered after the infection resisted 3 intravenous antibiotics courses.

However, surgeons were able to save the foot without a skin graft following a 4th course of antibiotics.

Ms Fraser said problems started within 3 days of arriving in Marmaris with her partner. After the 54 year-old retail worker noticed soreness and burning following her tattoo procedure, she spent a night with her swollen foot immersed in a bathroom shower.

Ms Fraser said that on her return to the studio the next day the tattooist "shunned" her.

"He said I must have been in salt water," said Ms Fraser. "I couldn't believe it; I don't have a swim suit and I never swim. Then he said it must have been my sandals, which weren't even touching that part of my foot. When he started making these excuses I knew something was up.

"[He told] me I'd need to change my shoes, that it wasn't his problem."

Now learning to live with the lasting damage, Ms Fraser is self-conscious about going out in public. "I'd rather not wear sandals, but I've got to let my toes out in the air because I have arthritis."

"But when I do wear open shoes, I see people looking at my foot and saying 'who did her tattoo?' I can't do anything about it because you can't tattoo over scar tissue and fix it."

"One thing I'm sure of is that I'll never get a tattoo abroad again. Too many people do it without understanding the risks."

Nick Harris, Head of International Travel Law at Simpson Millar LP said: "Whilst this type of holiday injury is not something you can claim for under the Package Travel Regulations it highlights the dangers of having procedures done abroad without thinking through the consequences. It's easy to forget that in the UK our health and safety standards are higher and very different to those in other countries."

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