A childcare worker, who suffered first and second degree burns to her legs and inner thighs following a laser bikini treatment that went wrong, has been awarded damages against Havana Therapy Limited.
Denise Byrne, 38, of Colthurst Rise, Lucan, Co Dublin, told the Circuit Civil Court in Dublin her life had been seriously affected following a €600 course of laser treatments carried out on her at the therapy company’s clinic at 13 Main Street, Dundrum, Dublin.
Barney Quirke, counsel for Ms Byrne, told the court there had been little or no response to his client’s complaints by Havana Therapy. They had not replied to a significant number of letters sent on Ms Byrne’s behalf.
Ms Byrne told the court she had paid Havana €600 for six sessions of laser treatment to remove hairs from her legs and bikini line. Following the fourth session, her legs and thighs began to burn and when she reported this to Havana, she was told they could provide her with a cream.
She told Mr Justice Raymond Groarke that she had started the treatments in August 2014 for the permanent removal of hair from her bikini area and legs. It was the fourth session she attended that had gone wrong.
“Following the treatment, my legs and thighs turned red and started to pain me and burn. I became aware of marks on my legs and thighs. When I went to my doctor she told me I had suffered first and second degree burns and prescribed cream to rub on them,” she said.
Ms Byrne told Mr Quirke that she had a lot of pain and discomfort for over a month after the treatment as the burns gradually scabbed and healed. Her doctor had noted scarring in multiple areas of her thighs and legs.
She told the court she suffered loss of pigment and had been unable to wear certain items of clothing such as a swimsuit or shorts as the scarring was then still visible. Her doctor had told her the marks should clear up within six months but she still noticed them changing colour when she would lie down in the sun to get a tan.
Ms Byrne said that she had been in a relationship which had broken up prior to her treatment and she had been feeling low at the time. She had not been in a relationship since.
Dr Grace Conroy said, in a medical report, Ms Byrne had told her at a review in November last year that her areas of hypopigmentation on her thighs had resolved a year after the original incident.
Mr Quirke said his instructing solicitor Elizabeth Howard had been led to believe that the company had gone into liquidation. But when Ms Howard had made a phone call yesterday morning to the Dundrum clinic, she had been told Havana was open and able to offer appointments for treatments.
No representative of the company appeared in court and a firm of solicitors which appeared for them was allowed to come off record for Havana before Ms Byrne’s case was heard.
Ms Byrne had sued Havana Therapy Limited, which has its registered offices at Unit 14, No 4, 3rd Floor, Walkinstown Roundabout, Dublin 12.
She told Judge Groarke that the marks are not visible now but if she was sunbathing they would be visible. He awarded her damages of €15,000 and costs against Havana, and also made an order against them to pay Ms Byrne special damages of €848 which includes €600 she paid for the treatments and which had not been refunded and also for creams and medication she had to use.
Ms Byrne said after the court case that she was happy with the award.
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