One family have issued a terrifying warning after their two-year-old daughter swallowed 28 magnets that then joined together in her gut.
Ella McBrien was at home with her dad who had left her alone for a few minutes whilst he went to the toilet.
But Ella had been playing with her dad’s Buckyballs – small magnetic balls that are designed to link together to create shapes – and put them in her mouth when he was out of the room.
‘At that moment I realised it was completely out of our hands,’ mum Elizabeth told Fox31 Denver. ‘It was terrifying. I was losing it, but my husband Kyle luckily kept it together.
Elizabeth DiGiorgio McBrien added a new photo.
Cover image: Buckyballs
The couple rushed their little girl to hospital, where scans revealed they magnets were joining together in her bowel.
‘Ella’s was a difficult case,’ Dr. Robert Kramer told the station. ‘The balls were pinching together in her bowel and starting to form the beginning of a hole in the gut lining.’
Thankfully, doctors were able to remove the balls with a tricky endoscopy, where a tube is inserted through the oesophagus into the gut.
‘[It] can have very significant implications. In the worst cases there has been deaths associated with these,’ continued the doctor.
The magnets are thought to be a risk to children not only because they are small and easy to swallow, but also because of the very real risk of them joining and restricting internal organs. In the past, the balls have been banned from sale, but the ban was overturned in 2016.
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‘Only adults use – these are super strong, should stay away from children,’ the Buckyballs website advises of the popular product.
‘We’re seeing cases like Ella’s come back again where we’re having to do significant intervention,’ said Dr. Kramer.
Elizabeth and Kyle are now urging other parents to ban the magnets in their homes.
‘Throw them away,’ said Elizabeth. ‘It’s not even worth the risk.’