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New York woman gets liver transplant after contracting Hepatitis B from a nose piercing

Photo courtesy of Northwell Health/ womenshealthmag.com

Dana Smith, of Queens, New York, suffered liver failure from an infection that was brought on because of her recent nose ring piercing.

Posted: Feb 26, 2021 7:13 PM
Updated: Feb 26, 2021 8:09 PM

Dana Smith, of Queens, New York, suffered liver failure from an infection that was brought on because of her recent nose ring piercing.

The 37-year-old decided to get a nose ring while out shopping on Thanksgiving last year. She started falling ill a few days later but assumed it was due to acid reflux and stress. Her symptoms worsened over the course of a few weeks to where she was not able to eat or drink any fluids.

Smith was hesitant at first to seek medical attention because of the pandemic, but was later taken to the hospital by her sister once her symptoms worsened. 

The $60 piercing nearly cost her life when she learned, after waking up from an emergency liver transplant, that she was diagnosed with fulminant liver failure, which is rare. This type of liver failure, according to Dr. Lewis Tepperman, a transplant director at Northwell Health, occurs in healthy people when the virus enters the body and within two months, fall into a coma.  

It wasn't until after the operation that doctors noticed the small stud in Smith's nose, and they were able to put the pieces together as to why she fell ill so fast. 

Dana Smith is sharing her story in order to bring awareness of the importance of seeking medical attention, even during the pandemic, to prevent any further complications.

As well, doctors recommend that everyone gets a Hepatitis B vaccine, especially those interested in getting a piercing. 

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