A mum nearly died doing housework when she was electrocuted by her vacuum cleaner – and then developed GANGRENE.
Nichola Jack, 44, is now afraid to perform daily chores after she was struck by the Vax Turbo Force 2200 machine while she was was preparing for her 14th wedding anniversary celebrations with husband Dave, 45.
The vacuum’s cable was caught in the suction area at the bottom of the machine, and when Nichola tried to free the cable, she was electrocuted three times in a row.
Dave, who was upstairs at the time, heard a gurgling scream and rushed down to found Nichola the cable, shuddering and unconscious on the floor of their living room.
Nichola said: “It has been a horrific year – all because of a household chore gone wrong.
“One moment I was vacuuming like normal and the next I was thrashing around on the ground with my life flashing before my eyes.”
Before the ambulance arrived, Dave had to rip the cable from his wife’s hands, receiving a small shock himself, and then performed life-saving CPR after Nichola stopped breathing.
Dave said: “I didn’t even think at the time, I just did, and it wasn’t until two days later it sunk in and I did suffer with shock from the ordeal.”
The mum-of-two from Sandbach, Cheshire, woke up in hospital to learn she had dislocated her shoulder in the fall and had electrical burns on both her hands and was discharged two days later.
But the nightmare, which began in October last year, didn’t end there as two weeks later, Nichola noticed that the burns to her hands had shrivelled up and were smelly.
She went back to the hospital to find out more – where she was diagnosed with GANGRENE.
She said: “To find out my thumbs were rotting afterwards was terrifying – I was so scared I would lose my hands.”
Nichola was rushed to Wythenshawe Hospital in Manchester for four-hour emergency surgery where doctors had to apply two skin grafts on her hands and prevent septicaemia developing.
She was left unable to work for because she couldn’t use her hands – and nurses had to change her dressings every day for three months.
Dave, who runs a gardening business, said: “She couldn’t do anything. Imagine losing your thumbs for a period of time, it’s like having a boxer’s glove on.
“I had to do everything for her. My business suffered, it wasn’t just her potential loss of earning, it was the whole family unit that suffered.”
Dave also explained that what made matters worse – was that an electrical inventory on the rented home had seen the vacuum cleaner signed off as ‘satisfactory’ just two weeks prior – so Nichola had assumed it was safe to use.
The couple’s landlord then sent another electrician to do an inventory, and this time the vacuum cleaner was deemed unsatisfactory, because the first electrician had made a mistake.
He said: “We live in fear of electrical items now, we don’t trust them at all.
“When you have been electrocuted and your heart stops, it does something to you mentally. It was a freak accident that has left us more cautious about what items we use.”
Nichola added: “These days, I refuse to go near a vacuum.”
The family are now seeking compensation for the unfortunate events lead to Nichola’s ordeal.
Vacuum cleaner company, Vax, have denied liability for the accident – because of a clause in its user guide.
In a statement to the family on behalf of the group, insurance company AIG Europe Limited explained that because Nichola ran over the cord with the machine, they are not responsible.
The statement said: “We would bring your attention to the section 2 of the user guide which states at point 7 “do not use the vacuum cleaner with a damaged cord or plug” and point 8 “do not run the vacuum cleaner over the cord.
“It is concluded that there has been incorrect use of the product contrary to the instructions and as such, liability is denied in full.”
David Jack said: “Yes, one of the conditions of the manual is do not draw the machine over the cable, but it doesn’t say there is danger of death.
“That can’t be their get out clause. It’s not good enough of a company that size. It really brings into question the standards of safety. It’s a death trap.”