Lawsuit: Salon Shampooing Caused Woman's Stroke
'It's shocking to think such a benign activity can kill you'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 3, 2016 6:24 PM CST

(Newser) – A California woman got a 10-minute shampoo at a beauty salon in 2013; two weeks later, she had a "massive" stroke, KGTV reports. Experts are blaming Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome. Sound far-fetched? It's apparently not. [It's] "definitely something that all neurologists know about," one doctor tells ABC News. Eight days after Elizabeth Smith had her hair washed at Blowbunny salon near San Diego, she started felling weakness in her left arm and leg. A week after that, she had a stroke. "They didn't think I was going to live," she says. She was left with lingering physical impairments, a blood clot in her brain that could kill her at any moment, and $250,000 in medical bills. Now she's suing the salon.

Doctors say Smith's neck was hyperextended when it was bent back for the shampoo, and one of her vertebrae cut through an artery, eventually leading to the clot that caused her stroke. Experts say there have been a number of documented cases of Beauty Parlor Stroke Syndrome. "It's shocking to think such a benign activity can kill you," Smith says. Smith's lawsuit claims the salon's chair and sink were "defective" and didn't offer enough support for her neck. Blowbunny denies any responsibility, arguing Smith failed to show any concern for her own safety. Doctors recommend anyone with neck arthritis or hardening arteries skip the shampoo next time they visit the salon. (Meanwhile, your anti-dandruff shampoo could be hurting the environment.)