Colarado Todler Ingests 28 High-Powered Buckyball Magnets


As far as foreign objects go, magnets may just be worse than many. A toddler from Colarado ingested 28 high-powered buckyball magnets and required immediate medical intervention. These scenarios are quite common in paediatric medicine. Young children are often fascinated by tastes, sounds, textures and scents because they are easily stimulated by the environment. They’re curiosity makes it necessary to childproof surroundings.

While eating foreign objects may not necessarily be a problem, magnets can be quite dangerous when swallowed. For example, eating their own poop or a dog’s poop is unlikely to cause and significant issues.

2-year-old Colarado toddler Ella McBrien swallowed 28 magnets that conjoined in a circular manner and obstructed her bowel. This can also pose as a surgical emergency if the foreign objects cannot be removed by less invasive means. Such as in this case, the doctors were able to remove the magnets in their second effort through endoscopy.

If endoscopy is also not sufficient to remove the foreign objects, the next step would be major surgery, depending on the urgency of the clinical situation. This can also include removal of segments of bowel. This can also lead to longer term consequences.

Her physician, Dr. Robert Kramer Co-medical Director of the Digestive Health Institute and the Director of Endoscopy at Children’s Hospital Colorado said:

“They were pinching the bowel and causing the early formation of a hole within the bowel by the time we got in there. That can have very significant implications. In the worst cases there has been deaths associated with these.”

Magnets are particularly dangerous because they can corrode, posing as a risk when ingested. Moreover, sharp objects, for example, an unclosed safety pin can cause a perforated bowel. Similarly, certain chemicals can cause intoxication and mechanical degradation.

Most times, foreign objects are benign and may only require checking the stool for confirming passage of the object. Ingestion of foreign objects is relatively common in paediatrics. However, it is important to contact a healthcare professional to prevent the situation from escalating.

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Dr. Aiman Shahab is a dentist with a bachelor’s degree from Dow University of Health Sciences. She is an experienced freelance writer with a demonstrated history of working in the health industry. Skilled in general dentistry, she is currently working as an associate dentist at a private dental clinic in Karachi, freelance content writer and as a part time science instructor with Little Medical School. She has also been an ambassador for PDC in the past from the year 2016 – 2018, and her responsibilities included acting as a representative and volunteer for PDC with an intention to make the dental community of Pakistan more connected and to work for benefiting the underprivileged. When she’s not working, you’ll either find her reading or aimlessly walking around for the sake of exploring. Her future plans include getting a master’s degree in maxillofacial and oral surgery, settled in a metropolitan city of North America.


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