After reading a recent article on swallowed magnetic foreign bodies (J Pediatr 2014; 165: 332-35), I was thinking quite tangentially about an article from The Onion a few years ago: Falling Down Laundry Chute And Breaking Neck Remains America .‘s No. 548,221 Killer. In this Onion article, the author sarcastically bemoans the attitude that many people adopt that “this could never happen to me.”
What this Journal of Pediatrics study adds to the literature is that swallowed magnetic foreign bodies remain a significant health threat and are likely to remain that way despite recent recalls.
Key finding: 94 pediatric patients were identified at this single center as having infested magnetic foreign bodies between 2002-2012, with increasing incidence in the last three years of the study period. The median age was 4.5 years. Six patients required surgical removal.
Bottomline: Magnet ingestions are a much more serious health threat than falling down a laundry chute.
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