7-Year-Old Girl Undergoes Surgery to Remove Stuck Earring

Published September 5th, 2018 - 11:53 GMT
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)
(Shutterstock/ File Photo)

A furious mum has blasted ear-piercing specialists Claire's Accessories after her daughter, 7, was hospitalised when the back of her earring got stuck in her ear -  and had to have it scooped out using a scalpel. 

Enraged Suzie Nisbet claims she was assured by staff at the retailer that Lily could safely change her earrings after just three weeks - providing their own-brand cleaning solution was used regularly.

Suzie, 39, said that despite religiously cleaning her ears three times a day for a month with the £15 lotion, the schoolgirl was left screaming in agony from the pain in her right ear after changing her earrings.

Convinced the butterfly back had fallen off as Lily slept, Suzie spent three days tugging at the piercing in a bid to take the earring out and thoroughly clean it.

However a nurse family friend visiting for lunch a week after she changed her earrings took one look at Lily's ear and advised them to get it checked out, suspecting the back had become embedded under the skin and the ear infected.

Lily spent four hours at The Princess Alexandra Hospital's A&E department in Harlow, Essex, last Thursday on gas and air and under local anaesthetic to extract the embedded earring back.

The schoolgirl was in that much pain it took two nurses, one to remove it and one to hold her down, to successfully get it out.

Claire's Accessories claim the lotion is thoroughly tested and that three weeks of use is an appropriate and approved length of time. They advise customers to seek medical advice if any redness, swelling or pain occurs.

Receptionist Suzie from Harlow said: 'I'm really furious with Claire's Accessories. I trusted them as a global brand when they said the earrings could be changed in three weeks and then this happens.

'In hospital there was nothing I could do for Lily, all I could do was hold her hand and try to make her giggle. I felt so helpless, I just felt like crying.

'I felt so guilty as I was the one who'd taken her there to get them done. If I could have gone through it for her, I would have done.'

Mum-of-three Suzie took Lily to the Harlow branch of the chain on August 1 to see whether they had time to get her ears pierced before going back to school - believing she would need six weeks' healing time.

But little Lily was thrilled when they were told that she could safely take them out in as little as three weeks if she used a special cleaning solution.

Suzie said: 'The school she goes to doesn't tolerate any piercings, they're strict like that, so her ears needed to be healed by the time she went back to school.

'I didn't think we'd have time before then but I said I'd ask.

'I was told that with this particular solution they would be healed within three weeks. I did think it was quick, but I didn't question it as Claire's is a reputable store and I trusted them.

'Lily was absolutely delighted. She's a real girly girl and was on top of the world when she had them done as she'd wanted them pierced for such a long time.

'She was very proud of them and loved showing them off. I also bought three pairs of sterling silver earrings for her to put in when she could change them, she was thrilled.'

Suzie claims she diligently cleaned the piercings with the Rapid Aftercare Lotion every morning, lunchtime and before Lily went to bed and said they looked fine when the first set of earrings came out on August 22.

It was approximately a week after that, that her right ear showed sign of infection.

Suzie said: 'We regularly cleaned it as we'd been told to and it looked absolutely fine, no sign of infection at all.

'Three weeks to the day after she got her ears pierced, Lily was keeping count, she really wanted to put a new pair of earrings in.

'On the day we took them out they looked ok, they weren't weeping, so we put the new ones in.

'About a week after that she came downstairs complaining that it felt weird and we noticed there was some weeping.

'We didn't think it was possible for the back to get stuck in her ear due to the size of it and searched her bed to try and find it.

'I couldn't push the earring back or forwards, it was absolutely horrible.

'She was screaming every time I tried to remove it, at this point I didn't realise the back was still in there, I thought the lump was an infection.

'My friend who's a nurse came round for lunch. She took one look at her ear and said it was the back of her earring in her ear.

'I felt absolutely terrible, so guilty, as I'd spent three days trying to tug it out.'

Suzie who lives with husband Mark Nisbet, a civil servant and son Charlie Nisbet, 9, took Lily to A&E at 11am last Thursday.

Suzie said: 'She's a really healthy kid and has not even been on antibiotics before. She was given gas and air and some numbing cream but they were unable to get it out.

'It took another more senior nurse, who was so lovely and put her at ease, to get the thing out.

'They gave her a local anaesthetic and then she was just puffing away on gas and air. They had to get another nurse in to hold her down as Lily kept trying to swipe her away. They tried to prise it out but it wasn't coming.

'At that point they said it was too embedded and that she would need to use a scalpel. Those 20 minutes felt like four hours, it was so traumatising for us all.

'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.

'When the anaesthetic kicked in the nurse got the scalpel and had to re-open the wound and pop it out.

'She just threw it into this bowl then the front came out and that was it. They then cleaned it up and put a plaster on it, thankfully it didn't need stitches, and has healed really well.

'It was horrific watching her go through such agony.

'My son Charlie was with us. They normally fight like cat and dog and but he held her hand throughout it, he was so sweet.'

Suzie, whose eldest son Craig Nisbet, 20, is at university in Dublin, has vowed never to step foot in a Claire's Accessories store again and is now urging the chain not to encourage customers to change lobe piercings in just three weeks.

Suzie said: 'Lily is normally a chatterbox but after she had the earring out she was very quiet and reserved, I think she was in shock.

'She's back to her normal self but she's adamant she's not getting her ears pierced again anytime soon.

'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.

'I feel very disappointed in Claire's Accessories - we were such good customers but not any more.'

Lily, who had her 7th birthday party at Claire's Accessories earlier this year, said that she wanted to make sure no-one else had the same experience as her.

Lily said: 'I wanted my ears pierced because all my friends and family have them done and I wanted to join in and look like them.

'I woke up one morning and my ear started to feel like it was vibrating, it felt really sore and yucky. It was really painful, it was hot and sore. Hospital was really weird and scary, I was worried they were going to cut off my ear.

'I will leave getting my ears pierced until I'm older.'

A Claire's Accessories spokesman said: 'Our piercing procedure and all of our piercing instruments, supplies and earrings are designed to promote the safest and most hygienic piercing experience.

'The rapid after care lotion is dermatologist and paediatrician tested for the effective care of the pierced ear. Three weeks of use is an appropriate and approved length of time.

'The Rapid lotion is safe and allergy tested and it's soothing formula is skin friendly.

'If undue pain / swelling / redness occurs at any time, seek medical advice immediately. Do not remove studs before the relevant medical advice.'

This article has been adapted from its original source.

© Associated Newspapers Ltd.

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