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Question From A Piercer
November 10th, 2008
This is a question from a piercer who is concerned about doing the right thing:
I would like to ask some advice from you, as I've had a weird request from a client this afternoon. She is going into surgery this next week, and her surgeon told her that he would do her nipple piercings for her while she is under anesthesia if she could bring in the jewelry. Of course, I was leary of wanting to sell the jewelry and encourage a possibly botched piercing. She also told me that the doctor suggested that a licensed piercer come in and do her piercings while she was under anesthesia (I would be concerned about any legal & ethical questions/ramifications resulting from piercing one under anesthesia-even if agreed upon in paperwork). I would be open to piercing in a hospital setting, but, not sure if this is a route I would want to take? I hate being put in a position where I would really prefer her to come to my studio and get pierced, but am afraid that she'll get the piercing anyway by someone who hasn't been trained to pierce. (Her reason for doing it while under anesthesia is that she's had 2 very bad experiences with past nipple piercings.) I guess we can't "save" all of them, but, what would be your best advice for a situation like this? *N*Hi N, Well, that's not necessarily an easy question to answer. I believe you will need to decide the best course of action for yourself under the specific circumstances. I'm willing to tell you what my response would be in this situation: I wouldn't do it. I think you're correct; we can't "save" all of them. We can do our very best to educate and inform potential clients. As someone put it, "You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink." I'm afraid piercees are the same way. You can provide them with sound facts and information, but they may not put it to good use. In the case of a client who has had bad prior experiences, I'd try to arrange to have her observe me perform some piercings, preferably someone else's nipples. Sometimes that goes a long way to help reassure a piercee who has experienced a hack job. There are potential legal and liability issues, and then there's the concern of nosocomial infection. Are you familiar with that term? It refers to infections caused as a result of hospitalization. They happen regularly and they can be very serious. Frankly, I'd rather pierce in my own studio than in a medical facility. I also wouldn't want a freshly pierced client to even be in a hospital! There are also practical issues to consider such as marking the piercings. Would you somehow manage to do that while she is standing, before she goes under anesthesia? Those things come to mind, and there are other considerations I can't factor in without additional information. For example, will she stay in the hospital a while, or is she getting an outpatient procedure? How might her surgery (whatever it is for--you didn't say) impact her ability to care for her piercings, or--importantly--to heal them? If her body is healing from a surgical procedure that isn't the best time to try to heal a piercing. Especially in an area that probably has some scar tissue from the previous piercings. All that being said, you need to do what feels right for yourself in the situation. Let me know what happens.