A serial nail-biter was left fighting for his life after one of his fingers become infected after chomping down too hard on it.
Steven MacDonald, 48, had sliced open his left finger, leaving it gushing with blood, after nibbling on it on January 3.
In the following days it began to swell up and fill with puss, prompting him to make a trip to the hospital.
The father, from Coatbridge, near Glasgow, was diagnosed with paronychia – a bacterial infection of the skin around the fingernail – which had spread to his bloodstream.
After giving him a strong shot of antibiotics Mr MacDonald was rushed for emergency surgery to have the wound drained and cleaned.
Steven MacDonald, 48, was rushed to hospital just days after noticing his left index finger had become infected from biting it
The former postman – who has been a nailbiter all his life – was initially given magnesium sulphate by a pharmacist in order to cure it
Mr MacDonald began noticing his finger balloon and a rash develop up his forearm earlier this month.
His fiance Karen Peat, 47, rushed him to University Hospital Monklands in Airdrie, North Lanarkshire, where the couple found he had a severe case of paronychia.
Ms Peat said: ‘At first we weren’t that worried as he’d had little swellings before where he’d been nail biting, but when it kept getting worse and then he showed me the rash, I really started to panic.
‘I knew it was quite serious then so I rushed him into our local hospital. The doctor took one look at it and he was whizzed right through the A&E queue.
‘After giving him a strong shot of antibiotics they told us we’d need to go straight to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for emergency surgery.
‘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.’
Steven was admitted onto the plastic surgery ward, at Glasgow Royal Infirmary, on January 6 and within an hour was in surgery, under general anesthetic.
After a successful two-hour operation to remove the infected flesh, Mr MacDonald was kept in for observation for four days.
The former postman was told his fingernail might never grow back. He has warned other nail-biters against the habit.
He said: ‘This ordeal has taught me a huge lesson, to any nail biters out there, please just pull your finger away from your teeth.
‘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’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.
‘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.
‘But seriously, I really cannot thank the NHS enough, they reacted so fast, it was incredible’.
Mr MacDonald said that initially, doctors were not too concerned about his wound.
He added: When we went to the emergency GP appointment the doctor wasn’t that worried but did suggest it needed to be lanced and properly cleaned out.
‘He wasn’t able to do it then and there so suggested we go to hospital to get it sorted.
‘He made a call to University Hospital Monklands but they said it might be an eight or nine hour wait and so we decided to go up there first thing the next morning.
‘But when I got up the next day there was a rash all up my arm, coming from the finger, it was a bit like sunburn.
‘From there it was all quite a blur as a nurse came to look at it and rushed me into a room.
‘A doctor then gave me antibiotics and sent me straight to Glasgow Royal Infirmary for surgery.
‘In the cab over there, it was only 15 minutes but it felt like hours. I could tell Karen was really anxious but I wanted to stay positive and so was laughing and joking around with the taxi driver. Looking back now I just didn’t realise how serious it was.’