A two-year-old girl has died after swallowing a button battery, just two days after enjoying a ‘perfect’ Christmas with her family.
Brianna Florer, from Tulsa, Oklahoma, turned blue and began vomiting blood very suddenly during a visit to her grandparents’ home. She was rushed to hospital, where doctors operated for two-and-a-half hours, but were unable to stop the bleeding.
Brianna’s grandfather, Kent Vice, told the Oklahoma newspaper Tulsa World, ‘They believed the battery (acid) ate through to her carotid artery by way of her esophagus.’
‘She was always happy and laughing… she was just an angel. One minute she is perfect, and the next minute she is dead. We had no idea when she swallowed it (the battery).’
‘I want to keep these things out of houses. They are dangerous,’ he added.
A GoFundMe page has since been set up by Renee Blevins Hale for Brianna’s funeral expenses, and has raised almost $9,000 at the time of writing.
Images: GoFundMe/Renee Blevins Hale
‘The family doesn’t want this tragedy with Brianna to happen to any other child or family,’ Renee says on the page.
‘Please be sure to share her story with all your friends and loved ones so that they will take precautions with their children’s toys, remotes, hearing aides, and so many other things that now use these ‘button batteries’. They or myself [didn’t have] any idea of how deadly such a small thing could be.’
Brianna swallowed a button battery similar to the one pictured above
In December 2014, the NHS issued a patient safety alert to raise awareness about the risk of death and serious harm that can be caused by button batteries.
‘When a button battery is swallowed severe tissue damage can result from a buildup of sodium hydroxide (caustic soda) caused by the electrical current discharged from the battery, and not as commonly supposed, from leakage from the battery,’ the report reads.
‘The sodium hydroxide causes tissue burns, often in the oesophagus (food pipe), which can then cause damage to major blood vessels, resulting in catastrophic haemorrhage.’
The risk is applicable to all age groups, but the NHS warned that ‘most cases involve children under the age of six who mistake the battery for a sweet and older people with confusion or poor vision who mistake the battery for a pill.’
Dr Mike Durkin, NHS England Director of Patient Safety, said in the alert: ‘As these types of batteries are common in toys and gadgets that may be given as presents, the risk of children swallowing them increases during the Christmas period.’
The swallowing of a button battery should always be treated as a medical emergency.
If you are concerned about a child who may have swallowed a battery, you should seek medical assistance immediately.