Emergency doctors say that 2-year-old Brianna Florer of Tulsa, Oklahoma, died after swallowing a small button battery that “ate through to her carotid artery by way of her esophagus.” According to the News OK, Brianna and her siblings had the perfect Christmas: opening presents, laughing, and playing. However, just two days later, she developed a “low grade fever,” then began vomiting significant amounts of blood and turned blue.
Her parents, Brian and Stephanie Florer, immediately called 911 and she was rushed to the Grove Hospital, but was later transferred to St. Francis Hospital where she underwent emergency surgery. The toddler’s grandfather told reporters that “They operated on her for 2 hours, but they couldn’t stop the bleeding.” Although surgeons worked diligently to save Brianna, she was later pronounced dead.
According to New York Daily News, an x-ray later confirmed that she died from swallowing a shiny button battery, and doctors believe she may have consumed the battery within six days before her death. “One minute she is perfect, and the next minute she is dead,” said Brianna’s Grandfather Kent Vice. “We had no idea when she swallowed it [the battery].”
The toddler’s parents were stunned after learning a battery took the life of their daughter, and were confused as to how she could have gotten accessed to the button battery. Her grandfather told reporters that he wants to do something about small batteries in the household as they are a danger to young children.
Experts say that although swallowing a battery is dangerous, they often will pass through the body without the person experiencing any issues or symptoms. But in Brianna’s case, the battery somehow got stuck and “secreted an alkaline substance,” causing her death.
A local medical examiner performed an autopsy on the toddler to officially determine the cause of death, but the results will not be in until two to four months. The Consumer Product Safety Commission stated that “Incidents of young children and seniors unintentionally swallowing the batteries have resulted in thousands of reports of injuries worldwide.”
According to that Oklahoma Poison Control Center, there have been 53 reported deaths in the area caused by swallowing a button battery. But nationally, there has been an aggregate of “11,940 reported cases of children swallowing batteries between 2005 and 2014.”
Since the incident, CPSC has joined “International Effort to prevent button battery-related injuries and death.” The chairman of the CPSC, Bob Adler, stated that they are “leased to participate in this international information and awareness effort on button battery safety. Preventing battery-related incidents is a priority at CPSC. Today, our collective voices in this worldwide effort will make this a global priority.”
In order to prevent any injuries or deaths related to button batteries, CPSC has advised the public to “not allow children to play with or be in contact with coin cell batteries,” and “Never put batteries in your mouth for any reason because they are easily swallowed accidentally.” They add that you should “Keep remotes and other electronics out of your child’s reach if the battery compartments do not have a screw to secure them. Use tape to help secure the battery compartment.”
After Brianna’s battery death, her family set up a GoFundMe page to help cover her funeral cost. On the page, it states “Please find it in your heart to donate money to help pay for this sweet little angels funeral expenses as the family will need time to heal from such a tragedy and will be missing some work etc. But most of all, please add them to your prayers.” Thus far, they’ve managed to accumulate $4,403, but they are hoping to raise $7,500.
Brianna Florer’s funeral was held January 2.
[Image via Shutterstock]