8-month-old permanently disabled after swallowing battery

8-month-old permanently disabled after swallowing battery

Eight-month-old Devon Hacche may never be able to speak or breathe unassisted following the damage caused by swallowing a large lithium-ion battery. Read on for more details of this case...

According to a report on New Zealand crowd-funding site, Givealittle, eight-month-old Devon Hacche has been in the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at Auckland’s Starship Children’s Hospital since December 2014, four days after he swallowed a large lithium-ion battery.

baby swallowed battery

Baby swallowed battery: Devon, after undergoing rounds of treatments and operations at the hospital.

Amanda Hacche, Devon’s mum, shared that she found her youngest son having symptoms of a runny nose and mild wheezing. Upon bringing Devon to the doctor, his condition was diagnosed as bronchiolitis, a common illness of the respiratory tract caused by an infection that affects tiny airways.

However, when Devon’s condition got worst, Hacche immediately took him to Tauranga Hospital the next day where an X-ray showed the battery lodged in his oesophagus.

“It turns out this is one of the most damaging and dangerous things that my beautiful boy could have ever ingested as they react with the saliva/gastric fluids and cause an electro-chemical reaction, which causes deep and extremely fast corrosion burns into soft human tissue,” Hacche wrote.

Hacche has two other children, aged five and 15.

Rounds of intensive treatments

baby swallowed battery

Caution: This lithium-ion battery poses a serious choking hazard for young kids.

The battery was successfully removed that day, and further tests were carried out. These revealed that the presence of the battery in Devon caused severe burns that stretched 10cm down his oesophagus and left a 5cm hole. His trachea was also burnt, while the nerves that control his vocal chords were badly damaged.

Since that fateful December, Devon had undergove five surgeries to remove and repair the burnt tissues. According to the NZ Herald, this includes an eight-hour operation where the little boy’s heart and lungs were stopped and he was kept alive with the help of a cardiac bypass machine.

What doctors say

Early reports suggest that Devon will need to be monitored closely in the hospital in the next eight months, followed by years of treatment.

“Devon may never breathe independently again and he will remain without a voice. He cannot make sounds without vocal cord function,” Hacche said.

Devon’s family has set up a Givealittle page for friends and relatives to donate and also follow his progress.

Beware of small items

baby swallowed battery

Devon, before the tragic incident

As we all know, extremely small items such as button batteries pose a risk of choking and injury in kids under five years old. Thus, it is important that parents and caregivers exercise extreme caution when it comes to handling and storing small items in their homes.

Here are some things to take note of when faced with this situation:

  • Always check your kids’ toys and devices to ensure that the battery slot is locked in and secure
  • Keep all coin-sized items away from small children
  • Throw away old batteries immediately – do not leave them lying around
  • If you suspect that your child has swallowed a small item, call 999 and go to the A&E immediately

Mums, please share this story with all your friends and let them know the dangers of choking and severe injury in kids after ingesting small items such as batteries.