Haaretz Newspaper from Israel brings a story of an 18-year-old Israel Defense Forces soldier who died this Sunday from an infection he received from a tongue piercing.
The soldier had been hospitalized in serious condition for over a month in Rambam Hospital in Haifa after he developed 14 abscesses in his brain from bacteria that spread from the piercing in his tongue.
The manager of the emergency room at Rambam, Dr. Yaron Bar-Lavi said that during the course of the soldier’s treatment, he began taking medication to deal with spasms that had been caused by the abscesses.
Over the last two days, doctors discovered that the medicine had caused serious problems with the soldier’s liver and led to the decline in his condition and eventually his death.
Back in 2003, Richard Martinello and Elizabeth Cooney published a brief report in Clinical Infectious Diseases Journal entitled “Cerebellar Brain Abscess Associated with Tongue Piercing“. They presented a case of a previously healthy adult who had a solitary cerebellar brain abscess diagnosed. This infection occurred 4 weeks after the patient underwent a tongue piercing procedure that was complicated by an apparent local infection. The clinical history, abscess culture results, and lack of an alternative explanation suggest that infection of the tongue piercing site was the source of the cerebellar abscess.
While brain abcesses present a very rare tounge piercing complication, local infection, pain, bleeding, edema, inhalation, dental trauma, contact lesions, oral interferences and endocarditis are more common. So think twice before getting one.