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One Week: 3 Children with Inhaled Foreign Bodies

Three children, aged from 1½-2 years, arrived in the ER in the same week, having inhaled or swallowed foreign objects that had reached their airway passages, lungs and stomach
Date: 11.05.20 | Update: 13.05.20

Specialists at Schneider Children's are skilled and experienced in extracting foreign bodies that children have inhaled or swallowed, but even they were surprised at the string of cases which arrived at the ER in one week. Three children, aged from 1½-2 years, had inhaled or swallowed foreign objects that had reached their airway passages, lungs and stomach. Among the items were two batteries, plastic toy parts, and pieces of apple that had gone into the lungs.

The 1½-year-old had started to choke at home while eating an apple, and was rushed to Schneider's ER in respiratory distress. An x-ray revealed evidence of blocked air in his lung. Doctors immediately performed a bronchoscopy. This involves inserting a long hollow tube into the child's airways. At the end of the tube is a small light and a pair of forceps with which to remove the foreign body. During the procedure, the apple dissolved and the toddler's condition improved at once, and he was discharged.

The same day, a 2-year-old arrived at the ER with a nagging cough. A bronchoscopy was performed, and this time, physicians found and extracted small plastic toy pieces. Had the toddler not received medical attention, the objects could have caused her severe damage.

A few days ago, an 18-month-old was admitted to the ER after having swallowed two small batteries. He was rushed to the Operating Room where he underwent a gastroscopy, during which the batteries were removed, one from his stomach, and the second from his esophagus. He recovered in the Intensive Care Unit headed by Dr. Elhanan Nahum.

Dr. Ron Berant, Director of the Emergency Medicine Department, noted that "the new normal raises the risk of children having accidents at home. We have seen a large increase in the number of cases of inhaled or swallowed foreign objects. We work closely with our colleagues in the Institute of Pulmonology and Otolaryngologists. We are used to extracting foreign bodies at Schneider, and we warn parents once again of the dangers involved. It is very important to pay close attention and ensure that small items are kept out of the reach of infants and toddlers during play and mealtimes. Despite these trying times of the coronavirus, if a child swallowed a foreign body, medical attention must not be delayed and the child rushed to the nearest hospital."


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