A mum almost died after losing four pints of blood from having her cheek pierced.
Tammy Caulfield, 25, from Billeseley, Birmingham, is suing a body piercing studio after she claims a technician ruptured an artery in her cheek.
She was rushed to hospital where a doctor likened her injury to a gunshot wound.
Mum-of-one Tammy told her local paper: "It only took about five minutes to pierce each cheek but when the numbness wore off one didn't feel right. Blood started trickling out and over the next few days it got worse. My mouth kept filling up with blood.
"When I arrived at hospital the nurses said I would have died if I had removed the metal bar keeping the piercing open.
"The doctor said it was the worst case of facial bleeding he had ever seen. The only time he had seen something similar was when someone got shot with a sawn-off. If I hadn't come to hospital when I did I would have bled to death. I was at death's door."
Tammy, who is mum to a three-year-old boy, paid £20 to have both cheeks pierced with a metal bar last November.
Just 48 hours later her left cheek started to bleed. She returned to the studio five days later and staff tried to fix the problem by replacing the metal bar with a larger one.
Hours later, she collapsed on a pavement and started choking on blood. She was operated on under general anaesthetic and surgeons cauterised the ruptured artery.
Tammy claims the piercing artist did not shine a light through her cheeks to check for arteries and veins.
Her lawyer Gareth-Lee Smith, of personal injury firm Slater & Gordon, added: "This was a particularly dangerous situation for Tammy and the consequences could have been even worse.
"People who choose to have piercings do not take the decision lightly. When they make that decision they're entitled to think that the person they trust with their safety will take all reasonable care to make sure they don't come to harm."
The piercing studio has not commented.