A Massachusetts tanning salon at the center of an investigation after several customers say they suffered severe burns will not have to close its doors.
In a disciplinary hearing, the board of health suspended Sun Center 2000's license for seven days, but if there are no more complaints for a year, the Hyannis salon can remain open.
"All in favor, aye. It passed unanimously," said Chairman of the Board Dr. Wayne Miller.
Lisa Carty, the owner of embattled Sun Center 2000, went in front of the Barnstable Board of Health to find out the punishment against her business.
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NECN learned that 10 women were burned at Carty's salon in Hyannis late last month. Each of them had first and second degree burns on the right side of their face, arm and torso from a missing glass filter that normally covers a bulb in tanning bed No. 10.
The bed has since been shut down.
"This is an unfortunate situation. They apologize for that, what happened. They have ensured that it will not happen again," said Carty's attorney Thomas Tang.
"The place is always clean," said Richard Whiteside, who has known Carty for more than 25 years.
Several customers read and wrote character references for Lisa Carty, and she had no previous violations in the three years she's owned the business. Given this first offense, the board voted unanimously to suspend the salon's license for seven days, which would only be enforced if there is another complaint in the next year. She also must have a factory trained technician to do any work beyond the changing of a bulb.
A checklist must be signed off by two operators before it's put back into operation, and a daily checklist is needed for all tanning beds to make sure this is the last time someone is burned.
"One of our employees did inform them that there was a pane missing, yes," Carty said at the hearing.
"At that point how come you didn't stop it?" board member Junichi Sawayanagi asked.
Carty admitted she operated the tanning bed even with the glass filter missing. Although her attorney says there was a safety mechanism that failed, the victims attorney said, the salon is still responsible.
"The owner of the shop admitted that she replaced the bulb. She admitted that when she replaced the bulb that she didn't put the filter back on. I think initially she gave the impression she just forgot to put the filter back on. But as the hearing went on, it became apparent that she didn't put the filter back on because it was broken. So I think negligence is very clear," John Manoog III, an attorney for six of the victims, said.
The concern all along has been about the potential lifelong effects on the skin of these women. Each of them is doing better than when NECN first reported this story, but they have not recovered completely and they plan to bring a lawsuit against the salon.