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As you prepare for the holiday season with lots of new electronics, a central Illinois family wants to make sure families keep small, circular lithium batteries that power many devices secure from children.
Joseph Mumbu lives in rural Trivoli, in central Illinois, with his wife Stacy and 5-year-old daughter Liana, who is among the thousands of kids who each year swallow shiny lithium batteries, also known as button batteries. It happened in an instant when Joseph was working in his home office and had a battery out to put into his car’s key fob.
His energetic daughter was in the office when she suddenly darted out of the room after grabbing something from his desk. Initially Joseph wasn’t concerned but he and Stacy began to worry when their daughter ran to the bathroom and started choking and crying.
“Obviously she had swallowed something. Then my wife and I started looking and wondering what it was she had swallowed. She was struggling with something that was stuck in her esophagus and starting to show signs of discomfort and pain.”
Little Liana was struggling to breathe so Joseph and Stacy rushed her to the nearest hospital emergency department at Graham Hospital in Canton.
An X-ray quickly suggested it might be a button battery. The team at Graham immediately contacted the OSF CareHub – a centralized command center for transfers into OSF facilities that can provide advanced care. This initiated specialty services and alerted Dr. Daniel Robertson, a surgeon at OSF HealthCare Children’s Hospital of Illinois in Peoria. Liana was then rushed by ambulance there, but first the team at Graham followed Dr. Robertson’s recommendation to give the child honey. Recent studies show honey can create a protective barrier between the battery and tissue in the throat, as well as neutralizing the harsh alkaline levels.
Minutes make a difference because Dr. Robertson says saliva acts as an electric conductor.