PANAMA CITY BEACH, FL---- Darrah Kinnaman is reminded of her 2008 trip to Panama City Beach everyday. All she has to do is look in the mirror. The 13-year-old Indiana girl was here with a friend's family whe she had her upper right ear pierced at this parlor inside Alvin's Island. She claims the piercing became infected causing disfiguration. Her family is now suing the gift store chain.
"The establishment didn't check for proper id. And went ahead gave her an ear piercing that turned out to be a high risk and resulted in a very bad infection," says Zachary Taylor with Manuel & Thompson.
Dr. Hans Caspary says there is a big difference between an upper and lower ear piercing.
"Whenever you pierce the ear down here there is just a little bit of fat, but when you get up here there is cartilage a soft, flexible pliable material we have and when you put a piece of metal through it, there is a lot of bleeding," says Caspary with Head and Neck Associates of Bay County.
Piercing inspector, Connie Bane, says Florida regulations do not include ears. Because Florida is one of the stricter states when it comes to body piercing, Bane says they rarely have problems with Bay County businesses.
"The parlors or salons or establishments that I've been to try really, really hard to comply to the regulations the state has put forward," says Bane.
But she says the best protection against any sort of piercing related infection is cleaning it often and properly.
As for Darrah Kinnaman's disfigured ear, doctors say she can't have plastic surgery because she's still growing.
We were unsuccessful is our attempts to reach lawyers for the gift shop chain.