It only took a minute or so for a Colorado toddler to swallow 28 small Buckyball magnets. She swallowed all of them in the time it took her dad to step away to use the bathroom. Those tiny magnets linked together while in the little girl’s bowel, and what came next was a terrifying event for the entire family.
Buckyball magnets are small spheres that are BB-sized, but because they are magnetized, they linked together once the toddler swallowed them. Once they linked together, they formed a circle in her bowel and pinched a hole inside the organ, according to Fox News. Like many toddlers, this little girl liked to put things in her mouth, according to her dad.
Once the X-rays confirmed the magnets were indeed lodged in her bowel, the doctors attempted a procedure to remove the objects, but this failed. The doctors then performed another procedure on the 2-year-old using a specialized endoscopy to remove the magnets.
The doctors who worked on the child told Fox News 31 out of Denver that the hole had formed in the little girl’s bowel by the time they got in there to remove the magnets.
One of the doctors who worked on the child’s case, Dr. Robert Kramer, told reporters, “That can have very significant implications. In the worst cases, there have been deaths associated with these.”
The doctors were successful in their second attempt to remove the Buckyball magnets from the little girl’s bowel, and reports indicated she was up and moving around normally just a few hours after the procedure was completed. Although she was lucky, there are stories of kids who were not so lucky after the ball-like magnets did fatal damage.
These Buckyball magnets are high-powered, and this was not the first time a child has swallowed these objects. While this little girl’s outcome was good, others have fallen ill, and these magnets have seriously injured children in the past.
In 2016, a court reversed the order to recall the magnets, which was originally made by the U.S. Consumer and Product Safety Commission. Back in 2014, the Daily Mail reported on the Buckyball magnets being banned and cited 7,700 children who were admitted to the hospital after swallowing them.
A little girl name Annaka Chaffin died after swallowing seven of the magnets, which came from a necklace given to her by her brother. Her death came after the magnets perforated her bowel. These magnets joined together while in the 19-month-old toddler’s small intestine.
Because they are back on the market, Dr. Kramer said they are seeing more and more cases of kids swallowing these magnets today. Kyle McBrien, who is the father of the little girl who swallowed the Buckyball magnets, is speaking out today in hopes that other parents hear this.
He is hoping that his own daughter’s health scare will act as a warning to other parents.
McBrien said, “It sounds as benign as humanly possible — magnets, you don’t think anything of it. I think just to understand exactly what the true risk is” will help with keeping these magnets away from kids.
[Featured Image by Carolyn Kaster/AP Images]