This week, doctors and medical practitioners from the UK have been trying to raise awareness about the hazards of using a lithium button battery-operated devices around children.
Fergus Welsh, a medical journalist at BBC, set up an experiment to demonstrate what happens when a button battery is swallowed up by a child. The investigation was prompted by the recent surge in the cases of small children, who have taken in lithium button batteries, being reported to hospitals.
Welsh used a slice of ham, a tiny button battery, and some water to demonstrate the lethal effects of the lithium cell on the child’s throat. He placed a lithium button battery atop a piece of ham, used to model a child’s throat, and poured water over it. The meat instantly begins to bubble and burn. Welsh then explains what would have happened if the battery was left on the piece of meat.
“Eventually this would have burned its way right through the ham. Same thing with a child’s throat.”
The use of these small cells is prevalent in the modern, technological age. However, there is no escaping the grim effects of the lithium cell. Joe Curry, the consultant paediatric surgeon, detailed the harmful effects if a child accidently ingests it:
“If the battery is stuck in the upper oesophagus, and assuming the battery is ‘live’ when it goes in, you can start to see damage to the lining of the oesophagus within about 15 minutes. We have seen rupture of the oesophagus within four hours. If it erodes out of the oesophagus and it goes into the airway then it creates an opening between the oesophagus and the airway so every time the child eats or drinks, fluid and food floods into the lungs, damaging the lungs and producing life-threatening chest infections.”
The number of emergency surgeries being performed on the children, following the ingestion of button batteries, is constantly on the rise. See the lethal effects of the battery ingestion detailed in this video: