LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The danger is everywhere; in cell phones, musical greeting cards, toys, keyless fobs, flameless candles and remote controls.
It was a remote on the floor with its battery door open that was the clue to Trista Hamsmith that her daughter Reese, who had been coughing, may have swallowed the battery inside that remote.
The Hamsmiths rushed their daughter to the emergency room at UMC where an x-ray confirmed their fears. They could see that she had swallowed a button battery, but it didn’t show the full extent of the damage.
Dr. Thomas McGill, a Pediatric Surgeon and Texas Tech Physician, says, “The battery needs to be taken out as soon as possible.” He adds that the damage is obvious when you use endoscopy to see the battery lodged in the throat. “Often times, what you see is the mucosa is completely black as if you were roasting a marshmallow.”
The Public Health Agency in Britain suggest an experiment that will show you how quickly a button battery can leave damage. You can see that demonstration in the attached video.
Dr. McGill says they see two or three cases every year of kids swallowing a button battery, but Reese’s situation is complicated. He says “It eroded through the esophagus and into the airway. Button batteries are flat and have a positive and negative side. so when they go into the esophagus, they start generating electricity and that causes an electrical burn. Within 15 minutes, you can have permanent damage to the esophagus.”
Trista and her husband, Chris, have moved Reese to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston for multiple surgeries to repair the damage, separating this family for weeks to come. Trista is staying with Reese in Houston while Chris cares for their older daughter, Blake, in Lubbock. Trista tells me they have a long road ahead of them but Reese is a fighter and fearless.
Poison Control suggests that replacement batteries should be stored in high places and out of a child’s reach. Also, battery compartments on toys, remotes and other devices should be taped up tightly so they won’t fall out.
***Racer Car Wash is joining the effort with a fundraiser Wednesday, December 16th. For every car wash that day, they will give $1 to Reese’s GoFundMe account.