This Girl Was Hospitalized After Getting Her Ears Pierced, & Parents Are Freaked

Sep 11, 2018 at 11:04 a.m. ET
Piercing chair next to earrings
Image: Bsd555/JosuOskaritz/Getty Images. Design: Ashley Britton/SheKnows.

For many children, ear piercing is a rite of passage, but one young girl — and her mother — had a nightmare experience when her new piercing became infected and landed her in the hospital.

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According to People, last month, Suzie Nesbit took her 7-year-old daughter, Lily, to get her ears pierced at a Claire's accessories shop in Harlow, Essex County. The mother of three took her daughter in August because she wanted to ensure Lily's new piercing would be healed before the school year started, and by all accounts, the healing process was going well. Nesbit told People she was cleaning Lily's ears three times a day with the store's special ear care solution, as advised, and things looked fine on Aug. 22 — when Nesbit removed her daughter's first set of earrings.

However, a week later, things took a dangerous turn when Nesbit and Lily noticed a discharge coming from the young girl's ear. When Nesbit went to clean the area, she saw the butterfly back of Lily's piercing was missing.

Of course, Nesbit assumed the clasp had simply fallen off. As such, she attempted to pull Lily's earring out. However, when she couldn't free it a family friend — and nurse — suggested the earring back might be embedded.

Nesbit rushed Lily to the hospital.

“We didn’t think it was possible for the back to get stuck in her ear due to the size of it," Nesbit told People, but “I couldn’t push the earring back or forwards, it was absolutely horrible."

According to People, once at the hospital, emergency room staff needed to use a scalpel to remove the embedded closure.

"When the needle went into her ear it obviously really hurt her as it was so sensitive and she screamed out. She was then properly crying too, it was horrendous," Nesbit recalled to The Sun. “When the anaesthetic kicked in the nurse got the scalpel and had to reopen the wound and pop it out. It was horrific watching her go through such agony."

Nesbit is understandably furious and has vowed never to step foot in Claire's again. She is also urging the chain to revise their suggested healing times: “This was bad advice given by a name I trusted. I don’t know why they are pushing the three-week healing process guidelines. A piercing is a wound and needs at least six weeks to heal."

And Nesbit is right; according to Infinite Body Piercing's website, "[E]arlobe piercings usually take six to eight weeks to heal." What's more, the Association of Professional Piercers' website recommends keeping the area clean and soaking it with a saline solution only — not a chemical-based compound, like the one sold by Claire's.

That said, Claire's stands by their suggestion. A spokesperson told media outlets: “Our piercing procedure and all of our piercing instruments, supplies and earrings are designed to promote the safest and most hygienic piercing experience [and] the rapid after care lotion is dermatologist and paediatrician tested for the effective care of the pierced ear."

More: How to Keep Your Family Healthy This School Year — According to Pediatricians

The spokesperson then added, "[T]hree weeks of use is an appropriate and approved length of time."

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