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Bihar: 5-yr-old swallows battery, saved by IGIMS docs

A five-year-old, who inadvertently ingested a nickel battery of the size of a one-rupee coin, was saved as doctors extricated the cell in the nick of time at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), an autonomous institute on the pattern of AIIMS, here on Saturday
By Ruchir Kumar, Patna
PUBLISHED ON JUL 18, 2021 09:30 PM IST

A five-year-old, who inadvertently ingested a nickel battery of the size of a one-rupee coin, was saved as doctors extricated the cell in the nick of time at the Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences (IGIMS), an autonomous institute on the pattern of AIIMS, here on Saturday.

“The cell, charged after mixing with saliva, was transmitting current. It was embedded in the oesophagus for the last five days. It was corroding the oesophagus and eschar formations (crusty dead tissue that falls off from the mucosal surfaces) were already evident. If not removed, the cell would have perforated the oesophagus and slipped into the bronchus (lungs), which could have become fatal,” said Dr Vinit Kumar Thakur, additional professor and officiating head of the paediatric surgery department, IGIMS, who performed the procedure.

The child, who hails from Ara town of Bhojpur district, is stable and recuperating at the institute, he added.

“We just hope he doesn’t develop stenosis and stricture (abnormal narrowing of the oesophageal lumen),” said Dr Thakur.

The procedure, lasting around 30 minutes, was done under general anaesthesia using the oesophagoscope, a type of endoscopy that doesn’t require incision as the flexible endoscope is inserted through the mouth into the oesophagus. The endoscope uses a charge-coupled device to display magnified images on a video screen.

Dr Ramdhani Yadav, Dr Sandeep Rahul, both from paediatric surgery, and Dr Nidhi from the department of anesthesiology, assisted in the procedure.

Gorak Nath, a milkman and the father of the child, does not have the faintest clue how his fourth child ingested the battery.

“Some years back, my son was operated on for cleft lip and cleft palate. He may have ingested the battery when he went to defecate,” he said.

“My son was writhing in abdominal pain since July 11. I took him to the sadar (district) hospital in Ara the same evening, but he did not show any relief the next day. I then consulted two private doctors in Ara who suggested chest X-rays and came to the conclusion that the child had ingested a coin. Without wasting much time, I got him to the IGIMS last Friday and the procedure was done the next day,” said Gorak Nath.

“My child is doing better and is responding to hunger and thirst,” he added.

IGIMS superintendent Dr Manish Mandal said the procedure costs 5,000, whereas it could have cost around 25,000 in a private facility.

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