Toddler Almost Died Before Simple Source of Illness Discovered


batteriesFor days, a Maine toddler was in and out of the emergency room and doctors' offices while everyone tried to figure out what was causing his high fever and vomiting. At first doctors said it was the flu, but his parents knew it was something more and pressed doctors to do more as he continued to get worse. Finally they refused to leave the ER until the real source of his illness was discovered.

Turns out that little Kacen Pedrucci, 17 months, had swallowed something that we all have in our homes: a lithium battery. They think the one he swallowed came from his favorite talking book, The Lion King, but they are everywhere in our homes, from remote controls to watches to toys, and aren't always secured as well as they should be.

Since that time in May, little Kacen has been through five surgeries to keep his esophagus from swelling shut. He still has to use a feeding tube, but fortunately he should be fine. It's terrifying to think how easily he could have died had it not been discovered.

His mother, Kalashai Porter, told the Sentinel Source, “There were so many days I just sat by his bedside, watching and wondering if he was going to live.”

His isn't an isolated incident. The number of incidents of children swallowing lithium batteries is on the rise -- there's been a 6.7 fold increase between 1985 and 2009, and 13 children have died as a result. Plenty more have been seriously injured by them.

His story is such an important reminder to us all to secure those batteries -- they're so small, just about the size of a piece of candy, and can easily be swallowed without anyone noticing ... until it's perhaps too late. It's also a reminder of just how strong of advocates we have to be for our own children's health.

It would be nice to think doctors have all the answers, but clearly they don't. When the answers they give us don't make sense in our heads or our hearts, it's our responsibility to push them to find out what's really wrong. It's often not easy, and Kacen's mom told NCEN that she felt stupid and like she was making the doctors mad for not believing them, but thank goodness she was strong enough to do so.

How do you secure lithium batteries in your house? Have you ever had to fight to make doctors see beyond their initial diagnosis?

Image via James Bowe/Flickr

a mom's life, safety


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Jennifer Fredette

Same thing happened to a friend's son, except it was a quarter. Poor boy couldn't keep anything down and the docs just kept saying it was the flu. My friend refused to believe that and demanded they take an x-ray. Sure enough, there was the quarter. Little one went through a surgery. Mama's instinct knows best, I don't care what your degree hanging on the wall says.

Leopard Peach

moms know their children best n we know when something is abnormal n the child needs help! the docs need to listen to us n believe us! cuz moms do know best when it comes to their own children!!!! dont b accusing til the truth is revealed!!!!

chixi... chixie421

Couldnt have said it better myself Jennifer! Dr.s don't have that maternal instinct with patients.

Billie Turner-Davidsson

 I really watch my hearing aid batteries around my 3-yr old grandson and also my cats, I know they can be deadly!

Kim Meacham Sprader

small magnets are also a problem like those in the magnetic letters and other fridge magnets.



Happened to me at 17- mom took me to ER, pediatrician, then to ob-gyn for awful stomach pain- she finally refused to leave ob-gyn w/o sonogram, which revealed my uterus floating in over 2 units of blood. After emergency surgery, and having about 2 hours left to live, it was discovered my spleen had ruptured two wks before due to undiagnosed mono. My mom taught me not to ever back down- she saved me.

hutch... hutchfam2007

Kim Meachum Sprader makes a good point. Small magnets can be a BIG problem. If someone swallows two of them they can cling together in different parts of the intestine pinching the intestines together and eventually causing serious infection.

We all need to be proactive and keep small parts (whatever parts they may be) away from our children. Accidents happen all the time and we can never be too safe!

that being said, luckily dd hasnt ever been VERY sick so luckily no misdiagnosis here :) Other than when I had to leave work to pick her up from the daycare because they thought she had pink eye. She has allergies and went to the zoo the day before and her eyes are always affected the worst by the allergies, especially animal allergies. Few shots of allergy eye drops and now daily claritan and she is good to go :) We mommies know what is going on with our babies or when something is going on! Never let dr's push you around. You are the one that knows your child best.

Cassondra Monique

I've already made it clear to doctors that I will go elsewhere if they aren't willing to listen to what I'm saying about my child. She was in my body for almost 10 months and that, at least for me, creates an unbreakable bond. My daughter knows when I'm stressed even when she's in another room and there are days I've stayed home for work because something didn't feel right and sure enough, something happened that I was needed home for. I will always trust my instinct over a doctor's dismissive reaction to my child's sickness. 

nonmember avatar amy

I have fired a pediatrician AND a pediatric gastroenterologist for dismissing my concerns. My daughter has had bowel problems since she was born and after her original ped telling me for the billionth time that it was normal and to give her Karo, I changed docs. Then her GI specialist got fired for not doing the correct tests on her. Now, we are looking at a diagnosis of Herschbrung's disease and potential surgery. So absolutely, if you think your doctor isn't listening to what your instincts say, get a new one. And keep going until someone listens. You know your child best and you are your child's best advocate.

tyrel... tyrelsmom

My daughter managed to get into them once. I was so afraid she might have swallowed one, but she didn't.

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