A few months ago, a 9 year old girl was rushed to a New York ER after she swallowed dangerous high-powered tiny magnets that got stuck in her stomach. Doctors had to effectuate an emergency endoscopy on the little girl to remove the magnets. In another case, a Long Island doctor had to remove tiny magnets that ended up on each side of the lingual frenum, the fleshy part of tissues under the tongue, of a patient. The patient had to be sedated so the doctor could pull the whole tongue out to remove the magnets. Doctors are also seeing multiple cases of children having their ears, noses and genitalia pinched by the magnets. Cases of young children swallowing the magnets and suffering major injuries such as perforated intestines and bowels after they got stuck in their internal organs are also on the rise.
The small rare-earth magnets were recalled and banned from the American market by the US Consumer Safety Commission in 2012. However, Zen, a magnet manufacturer based in Denver fought back and engaged in a legal marathon with the CPSC that has so far allowed the tiny magnets to stay on the market.
In a recent study published in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology and Nutrition and entitled “Magnet Ingestions in Children Presenting to Emergency Departments in the United States
2009-2019: A Problem in Flux”, Patrick T. Reeves MD at the Department of Pediatrics, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, Bryan Rudolph, MD, MPH at the Department of Pediatrics, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences, Bethesda and Cade M. Nylund MD at the Department of Pediatrics, The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, Bronx, NY rise the alarm on the problem.
The 3 doctors analyzed all cases of children in the US who got injured and checked in at the ER after ingesting small rare earth magnets between 2009 and 2019. The doctors found that there was a significant increase in cases of magnet ingestions by children between 2017 and 2019 and recommend that the government takes urgent regulatory actions to reverse this dangerous trend.
Image source: Wikimedia
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