Ear Piercing Infections Result in Hospitalizations, Injury Lawsuits

Dozens of people who received upper-ear piercings from a Rockford, Illinois tattoo parlor may have been exposed to a risk of bacterial infections, which have resulted in hospitalizations, surgery and now a growing number of personal injury lawsuits against the owners.

Officials with the Winnebago County Health Department announced the illness count on August 9, indicating that all of the victims have Pseudomonas aeruginosa infections and all had their ears pierced between January 22 and July 9 of this year at Euro 2 Tatoo in Rockford.

Victims of the infections range in age from 13 to 49 years old. Six patients to date have been hospitalized, and 13 required surgical intervention that included an incision and draining of the affected area.

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The tattoo and piercing establishment has suspended all piercings at the shop and county officials say they have cooperated with the investigation. However, the shop has already been hit with at least three personal injury lawsuits. In at least one case, the father of a 15-year-old girl says she suffered permanent injury.

The lawsuits names the owners, Robert and Carmen Schaal, accusing them of failing to keep the facility clean and sanitary, failing to sterilize its instruments and failing to give after-care instructions.

The health department press release provided some after care instructions for those who have recently received piercings:

  • Do not touch the piercing except when cleaning
  • Wash your hands before touching the piercing
  • Take showers instead of baths to prevent access by bacteria
  • If you bathe, make sure the tub is clean and rinse the piercing afterwards
  • A healthier lifestyle is likely to make it easier for a piercing to heal

Officials warn that anyone who received an ear piercing and begins to suffer redness, swelling or pain, especially of the upper ear, should seek medical attention and contact their local health department.


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