A California woman is suing a salon after she allegedly suffered a stroke from the way the salon shampooed her hair.
Mother of two Elizabeth Smith, 48, is suing Blowbunny: Blow Dry & Hair Extension Bar in San Diego County after her December 2013 visit reportedly caused a stroke in January 2014, ABC News reports.
Smith alleges the chair and shampoo were defective, causing a hyper-extension of her neck in which her vertebrae "cut her vertebral artery” that led to the stroke.
"Several of Ms. Smith's neurologists confirmed with her that the stroke was caused by the vertebra dissecting her artery during her hair wash," said Smith's attorney Carree Nahama, reports KGTV.
"We believe the personnel didn't adequately support her neck or adjust the chair properly to compensate for the small frame of our client," added Spencer Busby, another attorney representing Smith.
Neurologists call it the “beauty parlor stroke.” It occurs when an artery dissection in the vertebrae leads to a clot, sometimes traveling to the brain with disastrous consequences.
"Actually calling it a 'beauty parlor stroke' is relatively common in the teaching, it's been reported quite a lot," said Dr. Warren Selman, director of the Neurological Institute at University Hospitals Case Medical Center.
"If you tip your head back and get numbness or tingling and your speech slurs, that could be a warning sign of an injury,” he added.
"I vomited, my head became hot and I couldn't stand,” Smith said as she recalled the stroke. “I had weakness in my arms and legs. They didn't think I was going to live.”
Smith had $250,000 in medical costs from the stroke. In addition to seeking compensation from the salon, Smith also hopes to raise awareness of this problem.
It’s an issue that is still particularly pressing for her because she has still a potentially dangerous brain clot.
"So I do live with that every night. I go to sleep wondering, will I wake up tomorrow?" said Smith.
Blowbunny: Blow Dry & Hair Extension Bar denies any wrongdoing.
The salon said in court documents Smith "failed to exercise any degree of care for her own safety and as a result proximately caused her own injuries."