The child felt pain and severe shortness of breath.
A three-year-old Emirati girl swallowed a gold ear ring that was removed from her abdomen in a lifesaving operation by doctors at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.
The child’s mother said her daughter got the ear ring – which was in the form of cartoon character ‘Hello Kitty’ – from a drawer and put it into her mouth.
She added that the child felt pain and severe shortness of breath, and went into a constant crying bout.
Dr David Root, a consultant for paediatric gastrointestinal tracts at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, said that the hospital received the child after she had swallowed a gold ear ring, which had already entered her intestines.
He said a team of doctors at the hospital examined the girl and were able to remove the ear ring from her abdomen through an operation.
The doctors said they are witnessing a number of cases of children swallowing small objects, including coins, small batteries and magnetic balls.
In September this year, doctors at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City saved the life of a 13-month child after he swallowed seven magnetic balls.
The surgical team at the hospital had removed the magnetic balls from the abdomen of the Arab boy during a microscopic surgery. The magnetic balls, each measuring three millimetres in diameter, were starting to cause cracks in the intestines of the boy.
The doctors said the child underwent a surgery which lasted four hours and was later discharged from the hospital in good health.The child’s parents said the boy might have picked the magnetic balls from the floor and swallowed them, without anyone noticing as the family was moving house.
“Although small coins are the most ingested foreign objects removed from children, batteries and magnets come in second and third place,” said Dr Root. “These objects pose a significant risk and cause injuries to the digestive system of a child.”
He explained that swallowing of objects has a significant impact on the child’s family – both psychological and physical. It causes the affected family to feel anxious and extreme fear for their child. Besides, the removal of the object, whether through the endoscope or surgery, also involves money.
“Incidents of children swallowing objects at home can be avoided by being cautious, strict monitoring of their movements and preventing their access to any small item that can easily find way into their mouth,” he said.
Dr Mohammed Miqdadi, a consultant and head of the department of paediatric gastroenterology at the Khalifa Medical City, warned against leaving coins, small metallic objects, batteries, pins and magnets within the reach of children.
“If parents suspect that their child has swallowed an object, they should immediately visit the nearest emergency center,” said Miqdadi. He added that from January 2016 to December 2018, the children’s department at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City has received at least 258 children (aged from six months to 18 years) after they swallowed coins, batteries, magnetic metals and other objects.
Doctors said swallowing of coins, batteries, pins and magnetic balls leaves burns and infections in the esophagus or intestines, and needs urgent operation to remove them.
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