BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. - A local man is suing a popular Beverly Hills hotel, claiming he got a dangerous infection after visiting the hotel's spa.
Larry Poe is a consultant and motivational speaker for his business The Job Father. Over two decades he said he's helped global companies recruit staff while also developing a reality show to help job seekers.
He said in his line of work, his appearance is very important, but after getting a facial at the Beverly Hilton's spa in February of last year, his appearance changed drastically.
He said it's a hotel and spa he had frequented 50 to 100 nights each year.
"The technician was a lady I had never met before and she said, 'You have this little pimple right here,' and she poked my lip with a tool and right away I could feel it stinging or burning," Poe recalled.
Soon after, his lip started swelling.
In a lawsuit filed against the Beverly Hilton, the hotel spa and Hilton Worldwide Corporation, Poe claims the employee had also applied a "special concoction" to his upper lip. He believes it was a cream made by the spa aesthetician.
His "lip continued to swell and cause pain for the following three days without any relief," the document read. Eventually, Poe went to the emergency room.
"He came back in and he said you have MRSA," Poe said of the moment his doctor spoke with him. "They immediately had to quarantine the room, and they told me, 'You're not going anywhere.'"
MRSA is a bacterial infection resistant to commonly used antibiotics.
The Orange County Public Health Department, which has no involvement in the case, says MRSA is not exceedingly rare. It typically spreads from person-to-person contact and can stay on your skin for weeks and not make you sick. When it gets into an open wound, the bacteria can cause serious health complications.
Poe said he suffered permanent scarring on the left side of his upper lip. It's a scar he doesn't feel comfortable showing on television.
In a statement to ABC7, the Beverly Hilton said it does not comment on pending litigation.
"They didn't apologize, they instead sent him the bill for the nights that he was in the hospital. And so, my client, he has tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills," said attorney Dan Kramer.
Health officials say customers at spas and nail salons should make sure their aesthetician wears gloves, changes gloves between clients, cleans their equipment between clients and does not share towels that haven't been cleaned.
As for Poe, he's hoping for a jury trial.