posted on Oct, 30 2004 @ 12:42 PM
Swallowing one magnet bad, two much worse
Last Updated: 2004-10-27 15:33:29 -0400 (Reuters Health)
By Karla Gale
NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - If a child swallows a magnet it might pass without incident, but if two or more magnets go down, urgent surgery should be
considered, according to Dr. Alan E. Oestreich.
"The point is, it's simple physics," Oestreich told Reuters Health. "When more than one magnet is ingested and they're in different bowel loops,
they can attract each other." If that happens, the intestines might be clamped tightly together causing perforation or serious tissue damage.
Oestreich, a radiologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital in Ohio, noted that swallowed magnets are usually quite small and do not cause symptoms
right away. He recently treated a 12-year-old boy with autism who had had several days of abdominal discomfort. An X-ray showed multiple metallic
objects throughout the small intestine.
"Until proved otherwise, this represented multiple small magnets," he writes in a letter to the medical journal Radiology.
When the boy was operated on, a large number of small magnets from a toy were found in areas of extensive damage.
Toys are not the only source of magnets, Oestreich said. There are folk remedies for which magnets are applied to the body or even swallowed.
Also, think of what's sticking to many a refrigerator