Serial nail-biter left fighting for life after ‘harmless’ habit gave him blood poisoning

Steven MacDonald pictured in hospital where he spent several days for biting his nails (Picture: SWNS)

A father is thanking his lucky stars after he survived a severe infection that was caused by his life-long nail biting habit.

Green pus started coming out of Steven MacDonald’s finger so he went to a pharmacist who gave him magnesium sulphate.

But the life-long nail-biter, 48, said his finger continued swelling and then his fiancee Karen Peat, 47, spotted a rash running up his forearm.

He went to University Monklands Hospital, North Lanarkshire, where he was found to have paronychia – an infection of the skin around the fingernail.

Surgeons removed the infected flesh and the nail – which may never grow back – in a two-hour operation and he was kept in for observations for four days.

His finger filled with pus and swelled badly after the area around the nail became infected (Picture: SWNS)

Steven said: ‘I’d never had a problem like it before but it left me seriously considering life and death.

‘I was quite jokey about it until I came around from the operation and realised what a close call it had been.

‘I could tell Karen was really anxious but I wanted to stay positive and so was laughing and joking around with the taxi driver [to the hospital].

‘Looking back now I just didn’t realise how serious it was.’

‘I’ve been tempted to bite a few times since, as it’s been a habit of mine for so long, over 50 years, but I’ve told myself not to.

Steven is warning other nail-biters to stop the habit as soon as they can (Picture: SWNS)

‘It’s weird now that I’m not nibbling away at them, they’re actually growing really fast. I keep joking that I might need to get myself down the salon for a manicure.’

Karen said: ‘They told us that if we’d left it even a few hours longer he might have been dead.

‘It was horrible to hear, I was so scared. I’ve told him he’s never biting his nails again, it’s just not worth it.

‘It was so good having him home again, even if his finger does look all mangled up. He’s really been so brave about it all.

Steven’s nail may never grow back after the infection (Picture: SWNS)

‘I was especially worried because I’d been widowed at a young age after my husband, Alan, was in a bad house fire.

‘In a weird twist of fate, Alan actually died on the same ward that Steven was admitted to.

‘It felt like deja vu, I was terrified to lose another good man in that place. Thankfully he’s right as rain now and we’re finally planning the wedding.’

Steven concluded with this advice: ‘This ordeal has taught me a huge lesson, to any nail biters out there, please just pull your finger away from your teeth.’


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