Coatbridge dad nearly DIED after constant nail biting habit caused an extreme reaction

A SCOTS dad almost DIED because of his habit of biting his nails.

Steven MacDonald, from Coatbridge, was rushed to hospital just days after noticing his left index finger had become infected.

Steven almost died thanks to his habit of biting his nails
SWNS:South West News Service

It swelled up and turned green with puss – after he’d been nibbling his nails.

The former postman, 48, – who has been a nailbiter all his life – was initially given magnesium sulphate by a pharmacist in order to cure it.


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But his finger continued to balloon and just four days later his fiance, Karen Peat, 47, noticed a rash on her partner – running from his finger up his forearm.

Karen rushed Steven to University Hospital Monklands, in Airdrie, where the couple found he had a severe case of paronychia – an infection of the skin around the fingernail – which was spreading and medics performed emergency surgery to save his life.

Steven said: “This ordeal has taught me a huge lesson, to any nail biters out there, please just pull your finger away from your teeth!

“I’d never had a problem like it before but it left me seriously considering life and death.

Steven’s finger became infected
SWNS:South West News Service

“I was quite jokey about it until I came around from the operation and realised what a close call it had been.

“I’ve been tempted to bite a few times since, as it’s been a habit of mine for so long, over 50 years, but I’ve told myself not to.

“It’s weird now that I’m not nibbling away at them, they’re actually growing really fast. I keep joking that I might need to get myself down the salon for a manicure!

“But seriously, I really cannot thank the NHS enough, they reacted so fast, it was incredible.”

The finger became all swollen and green
SWNS:South West News Service

Mum-of-two Karen, a care worker, said: “At first we weren’t that worried as he’d had little swellings before where he’d been nail biting, but when it kept getting worse and then he showed me the rash, I really started to panic.

“I knew it was quite serious then so I rushed him into our local hospital. The doctor took one look at it and he was whizzed right through the A&E queue.

“After giving him a strong shot of antibiotics they told us we’d need to go straight to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for emergency surgery.

“They told us that if we’d left it even a few hours longer he might have been dead.

“It was horrible to hear, I was so scared. I’ve told him he’s never biting his nails again, it’s just not worth it.”

Steven was admitted onto the plastic surgery ward, at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, on January 6 and within an hour was in surgery, under general anesthetic.

After a successful two hour operation to remove the infected flesh, Steven was kept in for observation for four days.

Despite the possibility that his nail might never grow back, Steven – a dad to one 12-year old daughter – remains positive.

The couple – who met at school and got together three years ago – were initially not worried when Steven’s finger became red and itchy.

But after noticing it going green and swelling up, on Friday 3rd January, Karen insisted on taking her fiance to the local pharmacy in Whiffet.

The pharmacist wasn’t too concerned and suggested they purchase magnesium sulphate – which can be used to draw out splinters, pus or infection from the skin.

When the finger continued to swell the loved up pair went to a different chemist, in Coatdyke, near Glasgow, where the ‘worried’ pharmacist booked them an out of hours appointment at a doctors surgery in Airdrie.


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