A MUM who paid £200 for a huge leg tattoo was left in hospital unable to walk after it went badly wrong.
Shyann Johanneson, 26, got her right thigh tattooed with a design featuring an eye, clock, compass and rose back in April last year.
But despite the artist having previously doing a number of other tattoos for her – this one did not go to plan.
Mum-of-four Shyann says that within hours she was in agony and struggling to walk before her leg began to “ooze” and smell like “rotting flesh”.
The artist allegedly blamed her use of numbing cream but Shyann claims doctors told her the ink had been pushed too deeply into her skin, causing the infection.
The infection, which was most severe in darker inked areas, then developed into sepsis – leaving her at risk of needing a skin graft.
Sepsis happens when your immune system overreacts to an infection and starts to damage your body’s tissue and organs.
Thankfully for Shyann the wound healed after a gruelling three-month recovery period.
The health and wellbeing student was left scarred but grateful to have kept her leg and avoided surgery.
And Shyann has now shared horrifying photos of her infected leg to warn people to thoroughly research tattoo artists before going under the needle.
Shyann, from West Yorkshire, said: “When the tattoo was first finished it looked absolutely beautiful, it was one of my best tattoos, I was so happy with it.
“But within four hours I was in agony, it was so inflamed.
“I’ve given birth to four kids without pain relief, I’m stubborn with pain but within 12 hours the pain was that intense I couldn’t even walk, it was so bad.”
Shyann added that within four hours she was laid up in bed and couldn’t move describing it as “the worst experience of my life”.
She continued: “He butchered my leg. It was literally just oozing and rotting, it even smelled like rotting flesh.
“It got to the point where I was so poorly I felt like I was going to die.
“When I went to the hospital it turned out I had sepsis and they were looking at doing a skin graft because it was so bad.”
And she claims that the plastic surgeon said the tattoo artist “had gone way too deep into my skin”, causing her skin to reject the ink and cause sepsis as it reached the bloodstream.
Shyann added: “I strongly believe that if I hadn’t been so reactive going to the doctors the next day and then the hospital the day after that, I don’t believe I would’ve kept my leg.”
Shyann was prescribed antibiotics and pain relief for the “oozing” wound after visiting her doctor the day after getting the tattoo done.
When the pain continued to increase a day later she went to St James’s University Hospital, in Leeds, where she alleges doctors confirmed she had sepsis.
Shyann was given IV antibiotics to fight the infection and says she began to feel better over the next 48 hours.
But she had to return to the hospital for dressing changes every three days as doctors warned that she may need a skin graft.
After two months of check-ups, her leg showed signs of improvement and she was discharged with supplies to dress and clean the wound herself.
After another few weeks, almost three months after getting the tattoo done, her leg finally fully healed.
Shyann said: “For a really long time it wasn’t healing and there was a massive concern of me needing a skin graft.
“On one visit a nurse said ‘if it’s still not healing next time then we’ll book you in for a skin graft’ but then it started healing, which was amazing.
“I was really self conscious about wearing shorts but because of how painful the leg was I couldn’t wear jeans or pants because anything that rubbed on it was immense pain.
“Even when I could walk and drive again it completely stopped me from leaving the house.”
The inking, which took four hours to complete, was one of multiple tattoos the artist had done for Shyann over the last couple of years.
Shyann claims that the infection and scarring are concentrated in the shaded areas, which she believes he “overworked”, causing the infection.
After complaining to the artist about the health complications from her most recent tattoo, Shyann says he agreed to refund the £200 fee for the tattoo but blocked her and never sent the money.
She then asked a solicitor to look into the matter, who she claims found that the man was not registered as a tattoo artist and was also not insured.
Shyann said: “He tried to blame my tube of numbing cream but even the plastic surgeon that I spoke to at the hospital said to me categorically that it could not have been the numbing cream.
“I said ‘obviously something’s gone wrong but if you just give me the money back for the tattoo we’ll just draw a line under it’.”
Shyann says the tattoo artist told her “for weeks” he was going to repay her before blocking her out of the blue.
She added: “After months of him chasing him down the solicitor emailed me and said ‘there’s nothing we can do because the guy is not even registered as a tattooist and he doesn’t hold insurance’.
“He said on social media that he was a qualified tattooist. You don’t really think to question it when someone says ‘I’ve passed XYZ’ and his tattoos are good as well.”
However, despite acknowledging she broke tattoo aftercare advice, Shyann argues that this was not the cause of the infection.
Shyann said: “Because I’ve got a fair few tattoos anyway I know that you’re not supposed to get it wet for 24 hours but it’s advice.
“I’ve had loads of tattoos before where I’ve jumped in the bath that night to get rid of the blood and ink and every other tattoo has been fine.
“But this one there way no way I could even put it under the water, never mind wash it, because it was so painful.
“I think it was already infected before I even got in the bath.”
The student says her leg has been left scarred by the infection and with “paper-thin'” skin that she is too scared to tattoo over.
She now hopes to warn other tattoo enthusiasts to carefully research artists and ask for proof of their qualifications to avoid the same fate she suffered.
Shyann said: “The scarring is quite bad. Everywhere the dark shading was looks like I’ve started to get it lasered off and is scarred.
“My skin is literally paper thin to the point where it’s a year-and-a-half later and I’m still too scared to get it touched up.
“Make sure before you get tattooed that you’ve seen their insurance and qualifications because it can go really wrong. In my case it did go really wrong.”
The tattoo artist was repeatedly contacted for comment but failed to respond.
What is Sepsis?
SEPSIS is a life-threatening reaction to an infection and happens when your immune system overreacts and starts to damage your body.
- The condition is always triggered by an infection – but it is not contagious and cannot be passed from person to person.
- Typically, when a person suffers a minor cut, the area surrounding the wound will become red, swollen and warm to touch.
- This is evidence the body’s immune system has kicked into action, releasing white blood cells to kill off the bacteria causing the infection.
Signs of sepsis include:
- Loss of appetite
- Fever and chills
- Difficult or rapid breathing
- Rapid heart rate
- Low blood pressure
- Low urine output