A perpetual nail biter died from his nervous habit recently.
40-year-old John Gardener’s nail biting problem was so severe that he contracted a septic infection that spread from his fingers and caused a heart attack.
Doctors say Gardener would bite his fingers until they bled. His fingers were so damaged from the habit that they became numb to the pain he was inflicting on them. Gardener’s general physician, Dr. Daniel Vernon, said the man’s fingers were in “constant poor condition.”
“John’s nails were always in poor condition, and they were often bleeding when he came to the doctors,” Vernon said.
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Gardener’s problem was likely fueled by anxiety and depression he suffered from in the years leading up to his death.
The man’s habit became a medical emergency when he contracted a septic infection in one of his fingers. Doctors first treated him with intravenous antibiotics but then decided he needed to have the tip of his finger removed.
Gardener showed signs of improvement after surgery. Then, days after his 40th birthday, he suffered a heart attack. Doctors believe it was caused by the septic infection that started in his finger. Orthopedic surgeon Chye Ng said he was shocked by Gardener’s sudden death.
“The passing of John Gardener was really upsetting and shocking for all of the team,” he said.
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His mother, Jean Gardener, was in disbelief when she first heard her son passed away.
“It was such a tragedy, we’re all in shock,” she said. “It’s really hit our family hard, there could’ve been more done to help him. I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else’s son — it’s just devastating."