Several months ago one unsuspecting couple from Kiln, Mississippi made a terribly unfortunate purchase. They were shopping in their hometown and came across a bag of high-powered magnets that could be used to form various shapes. They decided to buy them for fun, what’s the harm after all? When they arrived back at their house they made sure to put the box on a high shelf. That wasn’t enough to keep Braylon, their two-year-old away from the toys, ultimately swallowing eight of them.
Had the gadgets just been round balls there would not have been much of an issue as their child would have simply passed them over time. Because they were high-powered magnets they were attracted to one another and formed a clump that ended up twisting Braylon’s intestines until they tore a hole through them.
Since the incident, the child has been in the hospital for nearly two months, almost all of that time spent in the ICU. Braylon’s had six surgeries, developed a blood infection and been sedated for three long weeks. Though he’s scheduled to leave the hospital this week his doctors are saying he’ll need to return soon for an intestinal transplant because so much tissue had to be removed due to the damage he suffered.
It’s hard to believe given the severity of Braylon’s injuries that there hasn’t been a thorough study on the dangers of children swallowing magnets. The Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) has said that since 2008 it has received some 200 reports of similar incidents involving children and high-powered magnets. One of Braylon’s physicians, Dr. R. Adam Noel, decided to conduct a survey of his own. He asked a group of pediatric gastroenterologists for their thoughts on the issue. The 33 physicians who responded to Noel’s survey said that they have seen a combined 82 patients who have swallowed magnets. The vast majority of these children suffered bowel perforations.
Dr. Noel and a group of other concerned doctors will be meeting with the CPSC to discuss ways to ensure that other children don’t needlessly suffer from similar accidents. The companies that make the toys insist that their products are perfectly safe if used according to the instructions. The company that makes one such product, Buckyballs, says “You have to keep them up high, like scissors, or prescription drugs. You tell kids not to touch the stove. It’s no different with a product like Buckyballs.”
Doctors point out that the products often contain hundred of individual small magnets, making it impossible for parents to know if one or two went missing. Children can easily get ahold of the magnets and, mistaking them for candy, swallow them; unaware of the danger they are placing themselves in. If you have been injured and you have a personal injury claim, please contact the Mississippi personal injury lawyers at Kilpatrick & Philley at (601) 856-7800.
Source: “Powerful magnets in toys raise risks from swallowing,” by Elizabeth Cohen, published at NewsNet5.com.
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