Stylist Wheelchair-Bound From Curling Iron

MONROE, Mich. — A wheelchair-bound hair stylist is suing a curling iron manufacturer after she said she was shocked by a faulty curling iron.

Rita Perna-Allor of Monroe was working as a stylist for Blue Water Spa Salon in Monroe on Jan. 18, when a Hot Tools Curling Iron, Model No. 1130, shorted out while she was holding it.

The cord become unhooked and ended up in the palm of her hands, said Perna-Allor. Moments later she saw flames.

“I could feel like it was just tearing my arm, the whole side of me felt like it was being torn, everything, and I am screaming, and nobody knew what was going on,” said Perna-Allor.

Perna-Allor was treated at the Vincent Medical Center in Toledo where health officials said she suffered severe electrical shock to her right finger, hand, wrist and arm, and the vascular and nervous system of her entire body and brain damage.

Since the initial incident, Perna-Allor has had a major surgery to increase blood flow and is wheelchair-bound.

She said she is in excruciating pain and she can hardly talk some days from the nerve damage.

Health officials said they have been unable to come up with a definite treatment plan, and a physical therapist has refused to work with her, for fear of hurting her, according to Perna-Allor.

Perna-Allor is suing the curling iron manufacturer, Helen of Troy, for failure to have an adequate handle and other safety features and the Blue Water Spa and Salon for not having properly grounded outlets.

The Blue Water Salon and Spa issued a statement: “We took proper action immediately following the incident. We had a local inspection and a state inspection on the unit in question. Both inspections passed to code. Since both inspections passed, we have to believe the problem was due to equipment failure, which she purchased herself. Furthermore, we have used the outlet everyday since and have not had no problems.”

Her lawyers, Terry Cochran of Cochran, Foley and Associates of Livonia said they hope to compensate Perna-Allor for her loss of income and permanent damage. In addition, Perna-Allor wants the company to recall the faulty curling irons and would like to see Michigan electrical codes upgraded.

Conair, Revlon and Wahl Clipper Corp. have conducted national recalls of their curling irons because of dangers of electrical shock.
“The doctors keep saying they don’t know why I am alive—and I do. It’s to stop this and to get a recall so somebody else won’t die and it won’t go further than this.”

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