It’s a call Golisano Children’s Hospital transport supervisor Nichole Shimko receives too often. “The minute you think something has happened, take them to the ER. The damage is very real and scary.”
But perhaps the scariest realization is that this dramatic and potentially life-threatening damage can all be caused by an object the size of a penny. “With the button batteries, there is an electrical current that is created in the esophagus and saliva, inside the esophagus to where it gets stuck, and it causes a hole, it causes burning,” she said.
Button batteries are the new lithium batteries and can be found inside remote controls, watches, hearing aids, even children’s toys. “When a button battery is swallowed, ingested or stuck, it’s a super time-sensitive situation because an injury can occur within two hours of that battery being inside the child,” Shimko said.
Removing the battery within the first two hours is critical to the child’s health. “The battery is inside a hot dog which is mimicking the esophagus of a child, and you can see there’s already black coming out on the side which shows a little bit of what we call necrosis. The black is the actual burning of the esophagus. This one that’s been in for three hours has more damage on the outside here, but what’s significant about this one is there is already a hole burned and split on the other side,” she demonstrated.
Making it important to respond quickly if you think a child has swallowed a button battery.
View More Health Matters video segments at LeeHealth.org/Healthmatters/
Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.