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Boy Undergoes Surgery After Swallowing 54 Magnets To See If He'd Become Magnetic

Discussion in 'General Surgery' started by Mahmoud Abudeif, Feb 12, 2021.

  1. Mahmoud Abudeif

    Mahmoud Abudeif Golden Member

    Mar 5, 2019
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    Rhiley Morrison, from Manchester, ate the magnetic balls across two separate occasions to see if they would make metal objects stick to his stomach - as well as being curious about what they would look like when he passed them, according to DailyMail.


    But when the metal balls had still not appeared four days later he told to his mother Paige Ward, 30, that he had swallowed two "by accident."

    She rushed him to hospital where doctors carried out an x-ray and were stunned to discover 54 of the powerful magnet toys in his stomach and bowel.

    Doctors feared the magnets might burn through tissue or vital organs, which could have caused potentially fatal internal damage, and rushed Morrison into surgery where the objects were scooped out during a six-hour operation.

    Morrison is now recovering at home and his mother hopes to share his 16-day hospital ordeal to educate parents about the potential dangers of magnetic ball toys and urge them to be binned before it happens again.

    Ward said:

    I was gobsmacked, just speechless when I heard the number he'd swallowed. The doctors guessed around 25- 30 from the x-ray, but when he came out of surgery they said they got 54.

    I think what made it harder is that I just didn't understand how or why he would swallow that many.

    Rhiley is massively into science, he loves experiments, he eventually admitted "I tried to stick magnets to me, I wanted to see if this copper would stick to my belly while the magnets were in."

    It's just so silly, but he's a child and that's what kids do. He also thought it would be fun seeing them come out the other end.


    Morrison, who has autism and ADHD, asked for magnet toys for Christmas and bought the additional £4.99 (6.87 USD) magnetic balls from a corner shop with money he had saved up.

    It is thought that Morrison swallowed the first batch on Jan 1 and the second lot on Jan 4.

    Morrison became worried when none of the magnets passed through his system and woke his mother up at 2am on Jan 5 who took him to Salford Royal Hospital.

    He was then sent by ambulance to Royal Manchester Children's Hospital where Rhiley was placed on the list for emergency surgery and had a keyhole procedure to remove the magnets.

    Due to complications related to ingesting the powerful magnets, Morrison spent 10 days unable to move without vomiting green liquid caused by his bowel leaking.

    He was also unable to eat or go to the toilet and needed to be tube-fed and have a catheter inserted.


    Ward said:

    It was heartbreaking watching him go through all that, just horrible. I think it's especially difficult because of Covid because he couldn't have any visitors.

    It was horrible to see him not able to sit up and being so sick every time he moved because this fluid was sloshing around inside him. I'd managed to hold it together all the time but it wasn't nice seeing him in that much pain.

    When they tried to put the catheter in he had pins and needles through his body and told me "I feel like my insides are going to explode."

    I remember thinking, I can't believe all this is happening because of magnets. When I went into hospital I thought 'god they're going to think how has she let him do that?

    A trauma nurse came in and told me she deals with kids like Rhiley who've eaten magnets all the time.

    Another doctor said he'd seen a child who'd swallowed two who ended up with part of their bowel removed so Rhiley was very lucky with 54.


    On Jan 21, Morrison was discharged and given a week-long course of antibiotics to stave off infection.

    Ward said she got rid of all the magnet toys after the incident. She now hopes to share Rhiley's story to ensure no other family goes through the same experience.

    She said:

    I don't want other kids or parents going through that.

    When he did it I thought it was just him, he's just been silly and done it, but the surgeon said they see this all the time.

    Magnets aren't toys, they shouldn't be sold as toys. My message to other parents is to just put them in the bin, don't buy them in the first place. I don't care how nice they look and how many children ask for them because they're "cool," they're just not worth it.

    The surgeon said that if Rhiley didn't tell me that day he'd swallowed the magnets he could have died. They could have clashed and ripped his bowel and he could have ended up with sepsis. Rhiley was lucky but some kids aren't and won't be.

    I'm not sure why he told me, he wasn't in any pain, I just thank god he did. He's taken all of his magnets out of his room now, he won't entertain them... It was a really traumatic lesson for both of us.


    Morrison said:

    My advice is never ever eat magnets, bin them, whisk them away and make sure they do not exist.

    Katrina Phillips, chief executive of the Child Accident Prevention Trust, said:

    Rhiley was lucky to be treated so quickly and avoid more serious injury.

    We've heard of increasing numbers of children swallowing magnets and we know doctors are worried.

    If you look online, you'll find lots of magnetic toys. The trouble is, there's no way to tell if they are safe or 10 times stronger than the legal limit.

    Many parents assume that, if they can buy something, it must be safe. Paige is doing a great service for other families by speaking out about these hidden dangers.


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