Mum issues warning over Christmas toy after son is rushed into emergency surgery
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A mum has put out a warning after her young son was raced to hospital due to swallowing a toy.
Lyndsey Foley, from Merthyr Tydfil, Wales, says her little boy Jude was feeling a bit under the weather this summer but doctors said it was nothing to be worried about.
However, concerns grew after the five-year-old began suffering from pains in his stomach, with Lyndsey taking Jude to A&E to see what was going on.
It turned out that the little lad had actually swallowed 52 magnetic balls, which had broken away from their structure to form a ring, and had gotten stuck in his bowel.
Jude was later transferred to to the Noah's Ark Children's Hospital of Wales in Cardiff where he underwent a major operation to remove the toy.
"I felt like I might lose him - it was horrific," recalled Lyndsey.
"It was lucky that he was operated on that night or it could have been fatal. You don't expect something so bad to happen from a child's toy."
Fortunately, the operation was a success, and surgeons were able to remove the magnetic beads.
However, because one of the magnets had become stuck to his bowel, Jude's appendix also had to be removed.
Lyndsey said: "They operated as son as we arrived. They told me the operation would take two hours but it ended up taking seven. The time went so incredibly slowly.
"As soon as he came out of surgery the surgeon said they'd managed to remove the 52 beads and that he was very lucky that there was no long-term damage.
"They did warn me before the surgery that he could end up with a colotomy bag for life and need monthly injections due to his bowel being so short. But he's very lucky. He can grow up and have no long-term issues."
After a couple of days in recuperating in hospital, the worried mum says Jude came round and she gave him a big 'cwtch'.
"He was in for two weeks altogether," she said. "He was bedbound for a week and was nil by mouth which was very traumatic for him. It was horrible for me too as I couldn't give him a cwtch as he was attached to all these difference machines."
Lyndsey is now urging other parents to be careful when buying these kinds of toys for their kids.
She said: "If you have these beads at home remove them immediately. If you know of anyone who has them pass the message on.
"They are so dangerous they shouldn't be put on the market, and I wouldn't want another family to be put through what we have experienced."
A spokesperson for Public Health Wales said ingestion of these small magnets or button batteries is incredibly dangerous.
"Multiple magnets can stick together inside a child's stomach resulting in the need for major abdominal surgery," they said.
"Studies show that in around 40 percent of cases, children swallow the item without anyone noticing. In many cases the child may not initially show any clinical symptoms or signs either."
Sarah Jones, consultant in environmental public health, added: "We are asking parents to think carefully before buying products containing magnets and button batteries for children. Mini magnet toys don't make good stocking fillers. They should always be stored out of the reach of small children. Similar dangers come from children swallowing button batteries too. Parents should make sure the button battery compartment is properly closed and secure on all toys before giving them to children."