A one-and-a-half-year-old boy’s life was saved by a team of surgeons who removed 15 magnets from his intestines that he accidentally swallowed, causing a septic shock.
The tot, not named, was rushed to the Ramenskoye Hospital in Moscow, Russia’s capital, in critical condition.
The little patient had a high fever, severe abdominal swelling, weakness, and refused to eat.
Diagnostic tests revealed the presence of 15 foreign objects in the abdominal cavity, which turned out to be magnets his parents were unaware he had swallowed.
Vladimir Khabalov, the head of the pediatric surgical department at Ramenskoye Hospital, said: “It took us two hours to remove 15 foreign objects from the child’s intestines.
“During the surgery, we found six perforations in the small intestine – the balls, when connected, caused the intestinal walls to rupture. All magnets were extracted from the small intestine, and the perforations were stitched up.
“This is a very serious and dangerous injury for such a small child. The magnets accumulated in different segments of the intestines and, attracting each other, damaged the tissues, causing perforations.
“All of this led to severe peritonitis.”
Unfortunately, the patient developed septic shock due to delayed medical intervention that came four days after the incident.
The boy was transferred to the Vladimirsky Moscow Regional Research Clinical Institute (MONIKI) intensive care unit, where specialists continued medical rehabilitation efforts.
Yevgeniya Polukonova, the head of the pediatric surgery department at MONIKI, said: “Foreign bodies in the gastrointestinal tract of small children are not uncommon today.
“However, some are particularly dangerous and threaten the child’s health and sometimes even life.
“Since this patient is very young, there was no information about the swallowed magnets. The first symptoms of the condition appeared only when there was a catastrophe in the abdominal cavity. Intestinal wall perforation occurred.”
The doctor continued: “The pediatric surgeons at Ramenskoye Regional Hospital, assessing the situation’s complexity, made the most optimal decision.
“The performed surgery – removal of the magnets and stitching of the perforations – saved the child’s life.
“The patient was admitted to MONIKI for intensive therapy and monitoring after the surgical treatment. It is essential to note that creating a safe environment for the child largely depends on parents.”
Polukonova emphasised that children should never be left unattended, especially if they can reach small objects.
She warned all parents: “They should monitor what their children can access. They might be tempted to put small objects in their mouths or ‘hide’ them in secure places – in the stomach, nose, or ears.
“If you suspect that your child has swallowed an object, seek medical help as quickly as possible so that doctors can remove the foreign body without surgical intervention.”
At present, the child is doing well.