A BABY boy nearly died after swallowing a button battery he found on the floor.
Little Ralphie Phillips had to have surgery to remove the battery on his first birthday after it became lodged in his chest.
Little Ralphie Phillips had to be rushed to hospital after swallowing a button battery the day before his first birthday[/caption]
After being taken to hospital, an X-ray revealed that Ralphie had a button battery lodged in his chest[/caption]
The button battery that Ralphie swallowed is pictured above. Mum Hollie said that these are found in most children’s toys and are easy to pop out[/caption]
His mum, Hollie Phillips, 27, said her one-year-old son had been ‘dying in her arms’ when they reached the hospital and admitted she started to think about planning his funeral.
Hollie, from Watford, initially thought that Ralphie had eaten cereal off the floor but within a matter of minutes – he was crying and projectile vomiting.
She said that his vomit smelt like acid – and is now warning people to remove the batteries from toys.
When Hollie took Ralphie to hospital a metal detector came back clear but Hollie, the charity event organiser, knew something was wrong with her boy.
Thankfully, her instincts were proven right while still in hospital as Ralphie was ‘minutes away from death’ ahead of surgery to remove the button battery on his first birthday, August 26.
Speaking from her son’s hospital bed, the mum-of-two said: “I went from planning my son’s first birthday to his funeral.
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“He was drifting in and out of consciousness in the ambulance. And basically dying in my arms when we got there.
“I was terrified. If it had been ten or 15 minutes later, then he might not have made it.”
Ralphie had previously had open heart surgery when he was born due to the fact he had holes in his heart.
Hollie said she felt more anxious about this procedure.
While she said she knew kids swallowed things all the time, she didn’t think they would need to be surgically removed.
“With the open-heart surgery, I knew he was going to be fine as doctors are always doing it.
I hope Ralphie’s story helps other parents spot the signs which include screaming, eyes rolling back, change of skin colour and brown vomit that smells like acid
“I didn’t have a clue what the outcome of this one would be”, Hollie said.
The incident happened on August 25 and the battery was removed during the early hours of Ralphie’s first birthday on August 26.
Hollie is sharing his story to warn other parents about the symptoms.
She explained that they were discharged from the hospital in the evening as a metal detector didn’t pick anything up.
She added: “But I knew something was wrong – it wasn’t a bug. His back was arched and he wouldn’t stop crying.
“I went back to the hospital as he was very lethargic, excessively dribbling and being sick. The colour had gone out of his face and he looked almost grey.”
An x-ray then revealed that a battery was stuck in Ralphie’s chest.
RUSHED TO HOSPITAL
The family were blue-lighted to Addenbrooks Hospital in Cambridgeshire and Ralphie was rushed into the theatre.
Two surgeons were required to remove the battery via his throat in a surgery that lasted for three hours.
Now, Hollie says Ralphie is being tube fed as the battery acid has damaged his windpipe and oesophagus.
She said: “I didn’t think I had these batteries in the house but they are in a lot of toys.
“They aren’t screwed in and can just pop out.
“It is lucky that I saw Ralphie had something in his mouth but I couldn’t get it out in time.
“I do blame myself as I wish I had turned around a second earlier. I thought it would have been something harmless like a cheerio or something.
“But moments later, he was inconsolably crying followed by projectile vomiting.
“It was brown and red with a very strong acid-like smell.”
Hollie hopes Ralphie’s story encourages other parents to dispose of items that have button batteries.
SPOT THE SIGNS
She explained that these batteries are mostly in toys and don’t require a screwdriver to remove.
She added: “You can just flick them out which is very worrying. The batteries are small and shiny – they can be swallowed like a Smartie by kids.
“They shouldn’t be allowed in toys.
“I hope Ralphie’s story helps other parents spot the signs which include screaming, eyes rolling back, change of skin colour and brown vomit that smells like acid.
“I urge other parents to trust their gut and always get a second opinion.
“Do not leave the hospital until you are satisfied with the diagnosis as you know your child more than anyone else.
“I hope Ralphie’s story helps prevent this from happening to other children.”
Ralphie is pictured above after having surgery to remove the button battery[/caption]
Mum Hollie is pictured right with Ralphie, centre and son Albie, left[/caption]