A 10-year-old girl was left screaming in pain after her new piercing got so infected it had to be dug out.
Mum Katy Jordan says she rushed daughter Isabelle Whitaker to the doctors where they warned she could be at risk of developing sepsis .
Katy claims she was horrified when the £45 birthday gift for the 10-year-old turned to tears after the earring got buried in her ear when infected skin grew over it.
The 36-year-old mum claims she saw the Claire’s Accessories staff member was serving other customers while still wearing the supposedly sterile piercing gloves.
Nursery deputy manager Katy said despite religiously cleaning her ears twice a day with the chain’s £5 aftercare lotion the schoolgirl was left screaming from the pain in her right ear.
After extracting the earring a week later Katy says she discovered a ‘big ball of infection’ containing Isabelle’s hair that had got tangled in the piercing.
Once the embedded earring was removed Katy claims the infection started to spread around and inside her ear and she rushed Isabelle to the doctors.
A concerned GP reportedly issued a strong course of antibiotics to tackle the infection and warned Katy to be vigilant of sepsis symptoms developing - resulting in the terrified mum sitting up all night monitoring her.
Katy, from Keighley, West Yorkshire, said: “Isabelle’s birthday treat ended up with her at the doctors on antibiotics and me on sepsis watch through the night. I didn’t sleep at all that night.
“The doctor said I needed to be aware that if she started struggling for breath or her temperature rocketed I needed to take her to A&E.
“Thankfully the antibiotics worked but it could have been a lot worse. If I hadn’t taken her to the doctors that day, you don’t know what could have happened.”
Katy claims the issues began when she discovered just one person working in the Keighley branch when they arrived at 4pm on April 30.
The mum-of-two says the solitary worker was in the middle of piercing someone’s ears when they walked through the doors and stopped part-way through to serve customers at the till.
It was then the pair were reportedly offered a sheet detailing the earrings that could be used during a piercing.
“We were waiting for this other lady to get her ears pierced - she was going between her and serving customers.
“When she eventually sat Isabelle down something that should have been a two-minute job took 20 minutes.
Katy and Isabelle chose gold-plated earrings in a bid to ensure the piercing wouldn’t get infected and the schoolgirl went home thrilled to be wearing the turquoise-coloured studs.
The following morning Isabelle complained that her right ear was sore but, believing the pain to be caused by it being a new piercing, Katy diligently cleaned it with the solution.
Despite easily twisting the left piercing neither Katy nor Isabelle were able to twist the piercing on the right ear because the earring back was reportedly on 'too tight'.
Katy said: “We cleaned the piercing morning and night but the right earring wouldn’t twist as it was on too tight.
“The back was pushed into the skin so when it started to heal the skin was trying to heal over the earring.
“We used salt water on it too because it started to look a bit swollen and it looked as though the back was pushing into the skin.”
Five days after getting her ears pierced Isabelle complained that her ear was still sore so Katy replaced the stainless steel back with a rubber one in the hope of easing her discomfort.
However the following day Katy realised the earring had to come out due to how infected and swollen it had become.
Katy said: “We hoped it would go down and sort itself out. Isabelle didn’t want me to take it out as she didn’t want to have just one earring in because she said it would look strange.
“I sat her down and said ‘we’ve got to take this out’. She was really upset and she obviously screamed when I pulled it out, it was absolutely horrific.
“I had to dig the earring out from under the skin using a cotton bud and some of the aftercare lotion.
“I had to scrape the skin off the front of the ear until we could see the head of the earring, it was like doing a mini operation at home.
“It took 15 minutes as I had to take out a little bit of skin at a time. She was screaming – it was so awful and upsetting.
“When I took the earring out she had a big ball under her skin of what looked like dry infection or a scab, I don’t know what it was.
“The infection had already started to spread before I took the earring out but it got worse and worse after.
“The infection was all down the back of her ear, the front of her ear and going into her ear as well.
“At some point, while she’s been asleep or her hair’s been down, and it’s obviously got caught in there – in the scab there was a bit of hair in there too.
“The skin had also grown over the front of the earring – in pictures it just looks like skin but I know under that there was an earring.
Concerned Katy kept Isabelle off school the following day and took her to their local GP surgery where the schoolgirl was put on a course of strong antibiotics and warned about sepsis symptoms.
Katy said: “I think the GP was being overly cautious but not scaremongering – she was genuinely saying we needed to be careful.
“I left the other earring in because I thought if she’s going to get them re-pierced she may as well just get one done - at least she has half of her birthday present in.”
Katy said: “I’ve been in the store three times to complain and submitted a complaint online and I’ve still not heard anything back.
“Claire’s Accessories need to train their staff better and they shouldn’t be leaving one person on the shop floor.
“We should get a refund at least and some kind of compensation for what my daughter has been through.
“Thankfully the antibiotics worked but it could have been a lot worse. If I hadn’t taken her to the doctors that day you don’t know what could have happened.”
Isabelle said: “I’d been really looking forward to getting my ears pierced as I thought they would look nice and my friends also have them done.
“I was really excited when I was sat in the chair, the earrings I chose had a stone in my favourite colour.
“It was really exciting to see the earrings in my ears afterwards but soon it felt really bad and really hurt.
“Mum had to take the earring out because it went all weird. The doctor said we had to watch out for sepsis.
“My right ear is feeling ok now but I’m feeling a little bit scared about getting it pierced again.”
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A Claire's Accessories spokesperson said: "The safety and well-being of every Claire’s customer is our absolute priority.
"Over the last 40 years we have performed over 100 million ear piercing procedures, and nothing is more important than our record of customer service and satisfaction.
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