Acid attack victim's painful healing process
Tanya St. Arnauld. (Facebook)
A red, puffy and scar-ridden stretch of scalp cuts a bald, painful pathway through Tanya St. Arnauld's hair as she sits in her hospital bed.
Hair had been the 29-year-old's calling card as she beautified clients at a hair salon in the south-shore suburb of Longueuil.
It was all violently interrupted in August when St. Arnauld was doused with acid following an argument with her boyfriend.
Skin graft surgery is now part of the stylist's daily routine, brother Maxime Gosselin told QMI Agency on Thursday.
Huge chunks of skin are missing from her chest and arms, bridged by skin grafts.
The victim was assailed on the front steps of her apartment on Aug. 25 in an attack the presiding judge called "barbarism." A boiler that stored acidic concrete cleaner was sitting at the top of the stairs, and the scalding substance was dumped on top of the woman.
She suffered burns over 20% of her body.
Nikolas Stefanatos, 27, is charged with assault.
The woman who specializes in styling hair might have lifelong bald spots on the sections of her scalp that were burned.
Earlier skin replacement surgery on her scalp will have to be redone because doctors fear complications.
"Every day she tries to take it well, but she took it hard having to return ... for more skin grafts," her brother said.
"Her wounds aren't healing well; the doctors want to operate quickly."
Gosselin says it will take years to recover from the attack.
"She'll have to wear a burn suit, a mask, do a lot of rehabilitation with a machine because she's no longer able to bend her arm. Her skin will have to be sanded down because the burns caused bumps."
He said his sister is concerned that Stefanatos, if convicted, will receive a lenient sentence.
"The maximum sentence he can get is 14 years," Gosselin saud. "My sister told me she'll have to live with this for the rest of her life."