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Doctors: be on alert for symptoms of toy magnet ingestion

According to a recent study published in The Journal of Pediatrics, the number of injuries attributed to ingestion of small toy magnets has increased 300 percent over the last ten years among children under the age of 18. The research was conducted at a Canadian hospital, where it was found that six children had to receive surgery for sepsis—bodily inflammation cause by severe infection—or potential imminent bowel perforation between 2010 and 2012.

The issue has become serious enough that the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has spoken out against toy magnet sets, urging companies to take them off the market. Because so many toy magnet sets have been sold in the United States and the issue has become more common, it is important for doctors and hospital staff to recognize the symptoms of magnet ingestion and treat the problem quickly. 

The symptoms of swallowing toy magnets initially look a lot like the common flu. There may be diarrhea, stomach pain, vomiting. Too often, the problem isn’t recognized for what it really is until later, causing further problems. Doctors who fail, through negligence, to recognize and treat the problem in a timely manner need to be held accountable for the harm that results.

Medical malpractice claims, to be sure, cannot be sustained whenever a doctor makes a mistake. There needs to be a clear violation of a duty which leads to harm for the patient. Patients who have been involved in such a situation should contact an experienced medical malpractice attorney to have their case evaluated.

Source: All About Lawsuits, “Magnet Ingestion Injuries Among Children Increased Substantially: Study,” Austin Kirk, May 22, 2014.

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