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Toy Magnets Can be a Very Real Threat
Date:2/4/2008

Powerful toy magnets pose almost-fatal attractions when swallowed by kids, new report shows.

MONDAY, Feb. 4 (HealthDay News) -- This is the story of a little boy who swallowed a magnet and wound up in the hospital.

Actually, Braden Eberle, 4, of San Jose, Calif., swallowed two tiny magnets from his older brother's construction kit on two successive days last spring.

After the first ingestion, he confessed to his mom, Jill Eberle, whose first reaction was that the magnet would pass through her son's system without a problem. "People swallow pennies of the same size every day," she said. "They're smaller than an eraser."

But by dinnertime on the day after Braden swallowed the second magnet, he developed stomach pains. His mother thought it was either the flu or the magnets. "The magnets never left my mind," she said.

The next morning, with Braden still in pain, the family's doctor told them to go straight to the emergency room where an X-ray revealed the two magnets were stuck together.

But not stuck together the way you would think. Each had been ingested separately and both were in different segments of the intestine.

"They were attracted to each other with the wall of each segment they were in stuck together," said Dr. Sanjeev Dutta, the pediatric surgeon at Good Samaritan Hospital who would operate on Braden later that day. "Because they were so powerful, the wall of the intestine was getting squeezed, squeezed, squeezed, and then it just necrosed, or kind of rotted away, and created a hole between the two."

Dutta, who is also an assistant professor of surgery and pediatrics at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital of Stanford University (which provides pediatric surgical services to Good Samaritan), has co-authored an article on the episode, which is published in the February issue of the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine.

According to the U.S
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