3-Year-Old Girl Swallows 37 High-Powered Magnets And Survives

Thirty-seven buckyballs had attached to each other, forming a bracelet in Payton's stomach.

Three-year-old Payton Bushnell is a miracle. She is recovering after having swallowed 37 high-powered rare earth magnets called Buckyballs, a toy that was recalled by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in 2010 because when even just two are ingested they can kill children.

The magnetic balls are meant to be constructed into shapes for amusement. To small children, however, they may look like the edible silver balls, known as dragees, used to decorate cupcakes.  Perhaps that’s what Payton thought they were when she swallowed more than three dozen of them.

At first, Payton’s parents thought she had the flu.  When she didn’t get better, however, Payton ended up in the emergency room.  Doctors trying to find out why she was suffering from severe stomach pain first thought she had swallowed a bracelet, but then realized she had actually ingested magnets which had attached to each other and were ripping holes in her intestine and stomach. 

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, consuming even two magnets can kill a child, so parents are advised to keep any toys that contain magnets away from small children.  KPTV in Oregon reports that 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.”  To learn about other toys recalled because of dangerous magnets, visit Consumer Watch.

Payton Bushnell is lucky. She is expected to recover fully.

Photo credit: KPTV

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