Magnetic Hazard: Ingestion

BEMS Member Joseph Spadaro recently sent information about an emergent medical issue:  magnet ingestion among children.  According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), magnet ingestions have led to dozens of surgeries, bowel perforations or fistulas, endoscopies, bowel resections, and other serious gastrointestinal injuries. Ingested magnets can stick together and trap and compress portions of the bowel wall between them, potentially leading to perforation, ischemia, sepsis, and bowel obstructions.  Recently reported injuries across the nation involve products that consist of small, round magnets marketed as “stress relief” desk toys for adults, according to the AAP.  These magnets are generally sold in sets of 100 or more, making it difficult to recognize if a few magnets have gone missing. Although these products are labeled and designed for adults, they can easily find their way into the hands and mouths of children.