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3-year-old swallows 37 magnets, parents unable to explain the attraction

Posted by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 1:05 PM
  • 1 Replies


A 3-year-old girl continues to recover in the hospital Friday after accidentally swallowing 37 high-powered rare earth Buckyball magnets.

At first her parents didn't know why 3-year-old Payton Bushnell was feeling so sick. They thought she just caught the stomach flu.

After her symptoms didn't get any better, they rushed her to the doctor. Eventually, doctors took an X-ray of her stomach, which quite possibly saved her life.

"They saw a circle had formed in her stomach, and they thought she swallowed a bracelet," said Payton's mother, Kelli Bushnell.

Once doctors tried to remove it from her stomach, they realized they were dealing with not just one, but 37 high-powered magnets.

Doctors say the magnets snapped her intestines together and ripped three holes in her lower intestine and one in her stomach.

"In all the research I have done, I have never seen any child swallow more than 10 magnets," said Sandy Nipper, R.N., from Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel's Safety Store.

"When I heard 37 magnets were swallowed, my nurse's mind raced to what taking 37 strong magnets could do to a fantastic little 3-year-old girl,and it frightened me to death," said Nipper.

Doctors at Randall Children's Hospital at Legacy Emanuel immediately took Payton into surgery and were fortunately able to save her in time. They say she is now on her way to a full recovery.

"Her mom and I prayed and hoped shed get through it," said Payton's father, Aaron Bushnell. "When they roll your daughter out with tubes sticking out of her, you don't know how strong you are until all you can be, is strong."

"It's a miracle she is doing as well as she is," said Nipper.

Her parents are speaking out to FOX 12 in hopes others will learn about the dangers that magnets present to children.

"If we had any idea what those magnets could have done to our daughter's intestines I would have never had them in our house, "said Kelli Bushnell.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there have been 22 cases of children swallowing magnets since the year 2009.

Doctors say it's not just Buckyball magnets that present a danger, it is essentially any loose magnet pieces from toys or even jewelry that are left unmonitored.

If you suspect your child has ingested a magnet, you should seek immediate medical attention.

Doctors say magnet ingestion may be misdiagnosed, so they urge you to pay close attention and to describe to your medical provider any non-specific abdominal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

Doctors advise all small magnets and small objects with magnets should be kept away from young children who might mistakenly or intentionally swallow them.

They also suggest you be on the lookout for loose magnetic pieces that may have fallen loose from toys and/or building sets.

Doctors say you should also inspect play areas for missing or dislodged magnets.

Parents can also register on the CPSC Commission website to receive toy recall announcements.

by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 1:05 PM
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by on Mar. 4, 2012 at 1:07 PM
That is so scary! Glad she will be ok.
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