Friday 23 February 2018

'Shame on them' - Mother burned in botched laser treatment 'disgusted' company continues to take bookings

Cathal McMahon

Cathal McMahon

A childcare worker whose legs and thighs were burned in a botched laser bikini treatment has expressed horror that the clinic behind the incident is still taking bookings.

Denise Byrne told the Circuit Civil Court last Friday that her life had been seriously affected following a €600 course of laser treatments at Havana Therapy in Dundrum, Dublin.

Evidence was heard that her solicitor Elizabeth Howard had been led to believe that the company had gone into liquidation.

However when Independent.ie contacted the company at the weekend workers said that they are still carrying out laser treatment in their three Dublin clinics.

Injuries suffered by Denise Byrne
Injuries suffered by Denise Byrne

A female staff member confirmed that their Dundrum branch is still providing the service and they are available for bookings.

Ms Byrne, a mother-of-four, said she was upset to learn that the company was still providing treatments and she issued a stark warning to other potential customers to avoid the South Dublin clinic.

“I just think that they think they can get away with it. They didn’t bother to show up for court and I don’t believe they are bothering to respect their clients.

“It’s very upsetting that they are allowed to keep bookings.”

Ms Byrne (38) told Independent.ie she paid Havana €600 for six sessions of laser treatment to remove hairs from her legs and bikini line.

Following the fourth session her legs and thighs began to burn and when she reported this to Havana she was told they could provide her with a cream.

Collect image of injuries sustained by Denise Byrne who was awarded €15,000 damages following a Circuit Civil Court action.Pic: Collins Courts
Collect image of injuries sustained by Denise Byrne who was awarded €15,000 damages following a Circuit Civil Court action.Pic: Collins Courts

“When she was doing it I was telling the girl it was extra painful. I could feel it was going to burn. Before I got home I knew my legs were burning straight away.

“I couldn’t wait to get home to get my leggings off me.”

Over the next few hours she became aware of marks on her legs and thighs. 

“When I went to my doctor she told me I had suffered 1st and 2nd degree burns and prescribed cream to rub on them,” she said.

She told the court she suffered loss of pigment and had been unable to wear certain items of clothing such as a swimsuit or shorts as the scarring was then still visible. Her doctor had told her the marks should clear up within six months but she still noticed them changing colour when she would lie down in the sun to get a tan.

Ms Byrne said that she had been in a relationship which had broken up prior to her treatment and she had been feeling low at the time. She had not been in a relationship since.

She said: “Emotionally it affected me. It took my confidence away from me.

“Going on holidays I had to cover up. I couldn’t show my legs because I would be afraid they would get burned. And also you wouldn’t want anyone else to see your legs in that state.”

Throughout her battle Ms Byrne revealed that nobody ever said “sorry”.

“I didn’t get an apology or an acknowledgement from them. Shame on them and I hope they don’t do that to anybody else.”

During her case last week Barrister Barney Quirke said his instructing solicitor Ms Howard had been led to believe that the company had gone into liquidation.

No representative of the company appeared in court and a firm of solicitors which appeared for them was allowed to come off record for Havana before Ms Byrne’s case was heard.

Judge Raymond Groarke awarded Ms Byrne damages of €15,000 and costs against Havana and also made an order against them to pay her special damages of €848 which includes €600 she paid for the treatments and which had not been refunded and also for creams and medication she had to use.

Despite the offer Ms Byrne is fearful that she will not see the cash.

"I would like to think they will pay me but I wouldn’t hold my breath," she said.

According to company records Havana Therapy Ltd is run by Keith Hogan (32) and Gary Hogan (57).

Independent.ie made a number of attempts to contact the directors for a comment but they did to respond to calls or emails.

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