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Girl Hospitalized After Getting Ears Pierced at Claire's: Doctors Dug Earring Out with 'Scalpel'

People logo People 2018-09-06 Char Adams

Lily Nisbet at the hospital © MERCURY PRESS Lily Nisbet at the hospital A 7-year-old girl was hospitalized after getting her ears pierced at a local Claire’s last month — and her mother says doctors had to dig the earring out of her daughter’s ear with a scalpel.

Suzie Nisbet, 39, was excited to have her daughter, Lily Nisbet’s, ears pierced before the start of the school year. So, she took the little girl to Claire’s in Harlow, Essex, on Aug. 1, where staff pierced Lily’s ears and sent the family home with its three-week Rapid After Care Cleanser (which is expected to heal the piercing and allow for an earring change in less than one month).

“She was very proud of them and loved showing them off,” Suzie said of Lily and her new piercings. “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. We regularly cleaned it as we’d been told to and it looked absolutely fine, no sign of infection at all.”

On Aug. 22, exactly three weeks after the piercing, Lily and Suzie changed the earrings, and Suzie noted that Lily’s ears looked healthy, with no sign of infection or redness. However, about a week later, Suzie and Lily noticed discharge coming from the little girl’s ears, the mom said.

a woman sitting on a table: Lily (left) and Suzie Nesbit © Provided by TIME Inc. Lily (left) and Suzie Nesbit “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,” Lily recalled.

Suzie checked Lily’s earrings, and noticed that the back of her right earring was nowhere to be found.

“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,” Suzie recalled. “She was screaming every time I tried to remove [the earring] at this point I didn’t realize the back was still in there, I thought the lump was an infection.”

Soon, Suzie’s friend, a nurse, inspected Lily’s ear and learned that the back of the earring had become stuck under the little girl’s skin.

“I felt absolutely terrible, so guilty, as I’d spent three days trying to tug it out,” Suzie said, noting that she rushed Lily to the emergency room at Princess Alexandra Hospital. There doctors numbed Lily’s ear and struggled to remove the earring piece from under her skin.

a man sitting at a table eating food: Lily Nisbet with medical staff © Provided by TIME Inc. Lily Nisbet with medical staff “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 traumatizing for us all,” Suzie recalled. “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.”

Suzie added: “It was horrific watching her go through such agony.”

Finally, doctors were able to remove the earring and bandaged Lily’s ear. Now, Suzie is speaking out against Claire’s, alleging that three weeks is hardly enough time for an ear piercing to heal.

Experts warn against removing the initial pair of earrings until at least six weeks after the piercing, according to Parents. Removing the earrings sooner could cause the hole to close, and the piercing may not heal properly.

“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,” she said. “I feel very disappointed in Claire’s Accessories – we were such good customers but not any more.”

Claire’s officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment from PEOPLE.

However, a spokesman 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. The rapid after care lotion is dermatologist and pediatrician 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.

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