Can you die from a tattoo? A healthy 23-year-old woman in Milan, Italy, reportedly died after getting septic shock from a tattoo, according to her family. She had visited a parlor on Thursday, and by Friday she was feeling "shivery" and had "pins and needles" in her hands and feet. By Saturday morning, she had died.
Federica Iammatteo, a student, had apparently gone to a tattoo parlor where she had had other ink done. After her death, prosecutors opened up a "manslaughter" charge against a person unknown and ordered an autopsy. Police reportedly visited the salon, but found no immediate cause to close it or take action.
Yikes. This sounds horrible. Her family claims she was in "perfect health" before the tattoo. And the timing does seem suspicious. But can you really get septic shock and die from a tattoo at a reputable parlor?
In 2009, a man died after a tattoo became infected. But that tattoo was given to him by his girlfriend. It was revealed that he died of a blood clot in his lung after developing a deep vein thrombosis in his calf, where he'd gotten the tattoo.
But apparently sepsis isn't unheard of from a tattoo. It's usually caused by using a dirty needle. However, sometimes allergic reactions can set in even years after getting a tattoo. In another case, a man came down with a "wormlike bacterium" that ended up being from the distilled water used in one of the ink's pigments.
On the whole, though, tattoo-related health problems -- and especially dying from one -- seems incredibly rare. A lot of people are very attached to getting tattoos. Parents get them to honor their children, their spouses, parents, or themselves. Just like virtually everything else though, there are risks involved.
Federica seems to have gotten very unlucky. It's a tragedy that a healthy 23-year-old ends up dead from a tattoo. But you should know the risks before you ink up.
Do you think tattoos are worth the risk?
Image via Kradlum/Flickr