Tongue piercing nearly kills Des Moines woman

Tongue piercing nearly kills Des Moines woman
DES MOINES, Wash. -- A piece of jewelry the size of a safety pin nearly killed a young woman whose tongue piercing left her scared and scarred.

Lacey Filosa, 20, said the inch-long metal bar nearly put her six feet underground.

"It almost killed me, in fact. It did three times," she said.

Filosa recently had her tongue pierced in a shop. Just days later, her tongue swelled up and friends rushed her to the emergency room.

The next thing Filosa remembers is waking up a month later with tubes poking out of her body.

"I had my family see me hooked up to machines and wires because of this barbell," she said.

It turned out an aggressive infection spread from the point of the piercing and ravaged her body. Doctors believe bacteria in her mouth crept into her bloodstream through the hole punched in her tongue, Filosa said.

"They told my mom needed a miracle to keep me alive," she said.

Filosa dropped 32 pounds and couldn't look in the mirror without crying.

"The bigger scars are where they had to drain the infection," she said.

Lacey's Medical Bills topped $500,000, but insurance paid for all but $1,000 of that amount.

Filosa is now suing the Everett business where she got her tongue pierced. She believes it wasn't sanitary.

"(I want) to close them, so no one else goes through what I did," she said.

Filosa said she isn't against piercings, but hopes her story will help protect others from suffering like she did. She suggests people who are looking to get a piercing research several shops first to make sure the one they choose is sanitary and reputable.