Two days before the death of a NSW woman who had undergone decorative body modification ‘blood and pus came gushing out’ of the side of her hand after the area was reopened, a friend has told a court.
Weeks earlier, the woman had a plastic snowflake implanted between the bone and skin of the back of her hand by body modifier Brendan Leigh Russell.
Problems with the insert meant she went back to him to have it attended to.
‘When he cut open her hand to reposition the snowflake, all this blood and pus came gushing out the side,’ the friend told the NSW District Court on Monday.
‘I then later witnessed that on the video (filmed by the deceased woman).’
Brendan Leigh Russell (pictured), 40, has pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter of a woman after her death in April 2017
Russell, a body modifier known by moniker BSlice Dot Com, has pleaded not guilty to the woman’s manslaughter after inserting the plastic snowflake in his parlour in a Central Coast shopping centre in March 2017.
The woman died on April 12 – two days after the follow-up in which Russell reopened the wound, washed it out and reinserted the implant.
She’d not taken up the advice of her friend to see a doctor and get antibiotics.
The day before her death, the woman looked ‘exhausted’ and was complaining of soreness in her hand.
Her friend, who lived next door, was so concerned that she insisted on accompanying the woman to an unrelated medical appointment ‘so I could make sure she was OK’.
‘She had her right hand covered with her sleeve and when she pulled that sleeve back, all stitches were either in process of falling out – some had already fallen out – and the hand was weeping blood and pus,’ the friend said.
The woman allegedly died after a plastic snowflake was implanted in her hand by Mr Russell and became infected (pictured, Brendan Leigh Russell)
Her speech became slurred that evening and she ‘wasn’t making much sense’.
By 1am, when the friends had a smoke and spoke from their respective verandahs, the woman’s speech had improved.
But her swollen hand was now ‘probably three times bigger than her other hand’, the friend said, denying she was exaggerating.
‘I offered to go with her to the hospital … so we could get a treatment straight away,’ she told the court.
But the woman had a child staying at her home that night.
‘She said she didn’t want to wake (the child) and cause a fuss, she’d have a couple of painkillers and go back to bed and that if she needed me, she’d call,’ the friend said.
Five hours later, the friend woke to the screams of the child and found the woman’s warm but lifeless body.
Russell’s lawyer queried if the witness’ concern at 1am was not high enough to warrant calling a taxi or an ambulance.
Her hand became black and she told her brother it was ‘the worst pain she has ever had to deal with’, a court heard (pictured, the implanted snowflake)
‘I was worried enough but you can’t force someone to do something,’ she replied.
‘But you didn’t suggest an ambulance or a taxi?’ Michal Mantaj asked.
‘No,’ came the reply.
The trial earlier heard from a cosmetic surgeon who believed the evidence indicates the wound was infected and Russell’s manipulation of the hand during the follow-up procedure ‘would have encouraged the spread of the bug’.
‘Normally’, a surgeon would remove the implant, wash out the wound, take a sample of the pus to determine what bugs were growing and start the patient on antibiotics, Ron Bezic said.
‘That is OK to do, but if you’re putting pressure on the wound without any other treatment, that would make it worse,’ Dr Bezic said.
Russell is also defending charges related to two other female patients.
The trial continues.