Surrey teenager left with life-threatening infection after using Lion Care aftercare for her piercing

A YOUNG girl could have died when an aftercare solution for her ear piercing left her in unbearable pain and needing surgery.

Rebecca Bowman, 15, needed reconstructive surgery after developing a life-threatening infection believed to be related to the aftercare solution.

She had the top of her right ear pierced, known as helix piercing, back in August, and was told to use a saline solution to prevent infection.

But within a week, the youngster's ear was oozing yellowy puss and was hot to the touch.

She had to spend two nights in hospital and eventually had her ear cut and drained. Rebecca is now on a second course of antibiotics to tackle the infection.

Mum Joanna, from Surrey, fumed: "We're still coming to terms with the fact that Rebecca could have died.

"She has been left with a fleshy, bloody mess at the top of her right ear and it has completely lost its structure.

"She's been left disfigured, which is hard for anyone to come to terms with but for a 15-year-old schoolgirl it's devastating.

"I'm really angry that a product designed to effectively cleanse a wound may have caused this and that Rebecca could have died if we hadn't got her to the hospital in time."

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The product, which has now been recalled after Public Health England branded it 'unsafe', can come with a range of labels, making it more difficult to spot.

Some labels use only black and white lettering with the manufacturer's trading name, Body Art Supplies.

Others may carry the Lion Care name, while some studios have been found to be stocking the product using their own name.

Matthew Newbould, expert product liability lawyer at Irwin Mitchell, representing Rebecca, said: "Rebecca's ordeal could have been much worse. She could have lost her ear or – as medics at the hospital told her mother – her life.

"It is deeply concerning that a teenage girl has suffered such serious damage to her ear possibly from something that was supposed to protect her from infection.

"Every manufacturer should have rigorous checks and balances in place to ensure that this kind of thing cannot happen and that the public are not put at risk.

"I would urge Lion Care Products Ltd and Public Health England to carry out a swift but thorough investigation into this product, both to give Rebecca and my other clients the answers they deserve and, if the link is confirmed, to prevent anything similar happening to other people."

A warning was issued over the aftercare solution last month after it was linked to 26 cases of severe infection Pseudomonas aeruginosa across England.

Infection of a skin wound or burn can lead to extensive tissue damage or even septic shock.

Richard Parker-Harding, Head of Environmental Health at Rother and Wealden Environmental Health Service, said: "We are urging both customers and shops to be alert to infection which may be linked to the product.

"Pseudomonas aeruginosa is of particular concern due to its resistance to antibiotics.

"We are contacting local ear piercing studios to alert them to the risk but we would also advise anyone suffering infection following a recent ear piercing to contact their GP and get in touch with Rother and Wealden Environmental Health Service.

"You should also report any possible infection to the piercing establishment."

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