Colorado Man Dies From Severe Infection After Getting Inked By Unlicensed Tattooist
Television station FOX 31 in Denver reported that Nemecio Benavidez of Greeley, Colorado died from sepsis after getting a tattoo from an artist that did not have a license to do tattoos. Death by ink should not be anyone’s epitaph. The words from a pen are truly mightier than the sword, but it looks like the ink can be killer too. Actually, it could have been the ink, the device used to make the tattoo, unclean procedures, Mr. Benavideza’s current health or even poor care of the tattoo after the fact that caused the sepsis. The point is, Mr. Benavidezadid does not have to die.
Sepsis occurs when the whole body reacts to a bloodstream infection from bacteria, fungi, parasites or viruses. Typically, sepsis occurs from a bacterial infection. Intact skin is one of the body’s main protections against infection. Tattoos break the skin and blood vessels. This is a prime opportunity for bacteria or other nasty stuff to get in. As for Mr. Benavideza, the tattooing tool, the artist, the ink or the environment may have been the source of the infection. Mr. Benavideza himself may have had the bacteria on his skin or clothes, or he may have been infected while the wound that tattooing causes healed.
The New York Daily News website reported attorney Mark Sheridan is seeking more strict control over tattoo shops in New York while representing a client suing a tattoo shop featured on a VH1 reality TV show. Who actually watches this stuff? Anyway, Syrian advised how getting a tattoo is like “undergoing minor surgery.” However, how many tattoo shops remind anyone of a hospital-like setting? The news report indicates that the defendants, “Black Ink,” have been sued three times so far. If a shop that has some fame on TV gets sued three times for tattoos, how safe is an unlicensed kitchen tattooist going to be?
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There are no published statistics on how many people are suing tattoo shops and artists. However, an Internet search reveals a bevy of lawyers willing to represent clients who want to sue over a tattoo. Of course, though, lawyers are ready to sue over kids who eat lead paint chips as well. Infections aside, people want to sue for tattoo quality issues, not having the correct tattoo and even misspelled words. A story at Chicago’s Real Law Blog website tells of an Irish couple who got a late-night tattoo that was misspelled. However, did they write it down wrong on a piece of paper or did the artist misspell it? That would have to be worked out in court.
Dying from a tattoo should not even be a concern, but it is. It should be on the mind of anyone who is getting a tattoo. Attorney Sheridan’s mentions of tattooing being similar to minor surgery are the key. Anyone going under the knife will be fully evaluated by a physician, the surgeon doing the surgery and the anesthesiologist. They look for underlying conditions that would make the surgery riskier. Tattooists are not medical doctors. They do not know if a client has diabetes that may make them more prone to infections. They do not know if there are other compromises to a client’s immune system that would make getting a tattoo riskier.
Popular on Facebook is an image of a breast cancer survivor who had a double mastectomy and got a tattoo over the area. She is obviously bald in the image from the chemotherapy. A wise tattooist would have chosen not to ink a person who was immunocompromised. Therefore, if the artists will ink anyone who signs the waivers, then the bulk of assuming risk then rests with those wanting the ink.