Magnetic toys send kids to hospital

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wwltv.com

Posted on April 23, 2012 at 10:29 PM

Updated Monday, Apr 23 at 10:41 PM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

NEW ORLEANS -- A warning to parents: powerful pea-sized magnets marketed to adults are sending children to the hospital.

A New Orleans doctor has seen two serious cases and warns of dozens more across the country.

"He was so, so rambunctious. He's what you'd expect an almost 2-year-old to be," said Meaghin Jordan.

Far from toys and home, Braylon Jordan is being monitored closely by medical staff at Children's Hospital. The toddler is in critical condition and recovering from five life-saving surgeries.

"His third surgery is when they found a blood clot in his small intestine, which cut off all the blood supply and killed all his small intestine," said Meaghin.

Doctors found eight magnetic beads which were part of a set of 100 inside the little boy's stomach. The magnets, which are marketed to adults, squeezed together his tiny intestines.

"The compression of your tissue between the two magnets will cause a hole and when that hole occurs, we call that a perforation, and that can be a very serious complication," said Dr. R. Adam Noel.

The LSUHSC Child GI specialist says he has seen two recent cases where young kids swallowed the industrial strength magnets. Dr. Noel has heard of at least 60 similar cases from other doctors across the country.

"They don't cause any symptoms not until there is a complication. By the time they start showing symptoms that's probably a sign that the child is going to have, or going to need surgery," added Dr. Noel.

Various companies market the magnets as "desk toys" and "stress relievers" for adults. However, the Consumer Product Safety Commission warns that the high powered magnets are prohibited for children 14 years and younger.

"I really think if you have a kid in your house, you don't need to have them because of how extensive the damage they can do. You wouldn't think that they can do what they've done," said Meaghin of the lesson her family learned too late.

While she waits for her 22-month-old son to get better, Dr. Noel says Braylon faces an uphill battle that will likely mean a bowel transplant in the future.

"It is difficult to see this perfectly amazingly healthy boy go from what he was to how he is now," said Meaghin.

Medical experts say if you think a child has swallowed any magnets, you should take them to the doctor right away.

If you've got these magnets in your house, again, keep them away from young children.

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