A care worker died two days after having her tongue pierced, an inquest heard today.
Amanda Taylor, 34, was diagnosed with tonsillitis after complaining of a sore throat and swollen tongue.
The inquest heard she died of blood poisoning after bacteria from the throat infection entered her blood stream through the piercing.
A coroner said Miss Taylor, of Caerphilly, south Wales, caught tonsillitis shortly before or after having the metal bar put in her tongue.
Her sister Ceri Taylor-Dodd told the inquest in Newport Miss Taylor had wanted the piercing for some time, but their parents had not allowed it.
They eventually gave in as a “birthday treat” in April and Miss Taylor had her tongue pierced at Silverhand Jewellery in Cardiff, the inquest heard.
She said Miss Taylor had been fit and well, worked 70 hours a week and “was constantly on the go”.
She complained of a swollen tongue the day after the piercing and the next morning saw her GP who examined her throat and prescribed antibiotics for tonsillitis.
Miss Taylor was visited by a friend that afternoon and wrote on Facebook that she had “severe tonsillitis and felt like crap”.
About 5.45pm her mother Lorraine found her collapsed at the home where she lived alone with her dog Bobby when she could not reach her by phone.
In a statement read to the court, Detective Sergeant Martin Vaughan, of Gwent Police, said council officials visited the jewellery shop three times and took six pieces of equipment which were submitted for tests.
One sample of bacteria associated with poor hygiene was found, but it was not linked to Miss Taylor’s death.
DS Vaughan said because the “micro-organisms were unrelated there was insufficient evidence to take the matter forward”.
Following a post-mortem examination, the cause of death was given as septicaemia and acute tonsillitis.
Deputy Coroner for Gwent Wendy James said: “It’s apparent that either shortly before Amanda had the piercing or shortly after she had contracted this tonsillitis.
“It was a streptococcus infection in her throat and, as I said, streptococcus is an extremely potent bacteria”.
She said the point of entry for streptococcus into the blood stream was the hole in Miss Taylor’s tongue.
When it enters the blood stream it “can very quickly lead to fatal consequences as it has in Amanda’s case”.
Recording a verdict of death by natural causes, she added: “There’s no evidence before me to suggest that Amanda contracted the streptococcus infection whilst at the jewellery centre.
“Miss Taylor’s death highlights the importance of the person having the piercing and the staff at the piercing centre to check as far as they are able that the people having the piercing are fit and well.”