MICHAEL Wilson got his right nipple pierced because he thought it would look cool. But the 16-year-old was wrong, and now could bear a scar for the rest of his life.
Just four days after he had a barbell-shaped piece of jewellery pierced into his nipple, he was rushed to Albury Base Hospital for an emergency operation to have it removed because of a swelling.
But his trauma didn’t end there.
After the operation a major infection set in, causing his chest to swell significantly.
He had throbbing pain and the skin around his nipple turned black.
Antibiotics didn’t stem the spread of the infection.
“The swelling was really big. My whole chest on the right side was swelling up and there was throbbing, and this stinging pain was there. And I was taking painkillers and antibiotics, and they weren’t working,” Michael, of Epping, said.
His parents, Faye and Steve, became worried, and when he was checked into the Northern Hospital in Epping last week doctors were stunned by what they saw.
He was operated on to clean the wound and, importantly, stop the infection spreading to his blood.
“They couldn’t work out why I had taken so long to go to hospital and said it was just in time, as the infection would have spread into my blood,” Michael said.
“I just thought it would go away . . . but I was wrong.”
Ms Wilson said she and Mr Wilson had been reluctant to give permission for the piercing, because they did not believe a 16-year-old was responsible enough to care for it.
“We reluctantly agreed, but he would have gone off and done it anyway, as he’s a 16-year-old and at that age they think they know it all,” she said. “. . . the people who did the piercing just made him sign this waiver absolving them of all responsibility.”
Michael said he knew now that 16 was too young for a piercing.
“I mean, you can’t get your licence until you are 18. And I definitely won’t be getting any more piercings in my lifetime.”
Michael might need cosmetic surgery at a later date.
Under a proposed State Government crackdown, it will be illegal for 16-year-olds to have piercings done without the written approval of their parents.
Intimate piercings, such as to the genitals or chest, will be banned.
Operators who pierce people under 18 in the genital area or chest face fines of up to $2000 under laws the Government hopes will come into effect this year.