Saturday, August 1, 2015

Battery Ingestion Hotline and The Emergency Room

The other evening as I was getting the children settled for the night, Lia walked past me with an odd look on her face. She had her mouth pinched tightly closed. I told her she has to show me what she has in her mouth and she reluctantly spit a button battery into my hand. I scolded her, telling her that she could get very sick if she swallowed a battery. A scared look crossed her face and she said, "I already swallowed one!" I knew button batteries can be very dangerous so I quickly went online to look for answers. I found a National Battery Ingestion Hotline, here is the number to contact them: 202-625-3333. I called them and they were very helpful. They asked for the number on the remaining battery and looked it up in their database. The woman told me to go to the ER right away and tell them Lia needs an x ray of her esophagus to be sure it hadn't become lodged in there.  She explained that most ER's are up to date on battery ingestion but not to count on it and to have them call her if they had any questions.
   So I packed up my little girl, slipped on some shoes and we left. When we arrived, I registered Lia and we were soon taken back to get her vitals. By that time she was complaining that her throat hurt when she swallowed, which scared me. Thankfully they took us straight to the X ray department where we only had to wait a few minutes. Lia did an excellent job, she sat still and did exactly what the nurse told her to do. I was thankful because she can be a little ornery sometimes and I didn't feel like wrestling with her.
  The nurse led us to the waiting room where we then waited for another hour and a half. Lia was begging for something to eat and from the little bit I had researched while I waited, I knew that the battery could begin leaking in as little as two hours. It was now 2.5 hours since she had swallowed it and I was pretty sure they would have looked at the X ray ASAP and made Lia a priority if it was stuck in her esophagus so I assumed it was safe to give her a snack. She had barely finished eating her snack and was clutching a partly eaten package of peanuts she had found in my purse when they called us back. The nurse looked at Lia's peanuts and asked if she had eaten any of them. I replied that she hadn't but my heart sank, if they were concerned if she had eaten anything that battery must be in a bad place...and she had eaten other food a few minutes before. I decided to keep my mouth shut until I knew more. The nurse pulled out a gown for Lia and hooked her up to a monitor. I asked if they found the battery and he replied that the doctor would be in to talk to me. Then I was really scared! 

  The doctor soon came into Lia's room and said they had found the battery in her mid stomach which was the best possible place for it to be. However, she wanted to consult the Pediatric GI specialist at Hershey before she discharged Lia. I gave a huge sigh of relief when I heard that. Half an hour later, she was back and said Lia may go home but I must keep an eye out for that battery. The next day the Battery Hotline called to check up on Lia. We are keeping an eye out for that battery. If we cannot find it then Lia will need a follow up X ray to be sure it is no longer in her stomach. 

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