Doctors remove 14 magnetic balls from the small intestine of a three-year-old child

The child had swallowed the foreign bodies while playing a few days ago and was first treated for gastroenteritis and UTI before being referred to Dr. Mehta’s Hospital

Special Correspondent
May 09, 2022 17:58 IST

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Doctors performed an emergency laparotomy on a three-year-old child and removed 14 magnetic balls that she had swallowed while playing at home.

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According to a press release, the child was rushed to Dr. Mehta’s Hospital, Velapanchavadi, with complaints of high-grade fever, bilious vomiting and abdominal pain for three days. Prior to this, she was treated for gastroenteritis/UTI at other hospitals. She had developed abdominal distension and was referred to the hospital.

On probing the history, the child said it had swallowed foreign bodies a few days ago. A CT abdomen showed multiple magnetic balls in the small intestine with perforation and pneumoperitoneum.

A team, headed by paediatric surgeon Madhu, performed an emergency laparotomy, a surgery with a long incision in the stomach wall which enabled the surgeons to remove the 14 magnetic balls from the child’s body and a part of the ileum (small intestine) and reanastomosis was done as the bowel was found to be non-viable, a press release said.

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There were multiple perforations of the small intestine. Post-surgery, she developed coagulopathy/anaemia from sepsis requiring blood transfusion. She developed peritonitis and required higher degree antibiotics. She was discharged 10 days post-surgery.

Dr. Madhu said ingestion of magnetic objects posed a significant health risk to children, with severe morbidity and mortality. Magnetic attraction through bowel walls can cause gastrointestinal injury.

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