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Nevin Al Sukari - Abu Dhabi - Fully recovered six-year-old Althea Faye Barabacina with her mother and the specialists before her discharge from Medeor Hospital (Dubai) on March 14 (Sunday).
Mariecar Jara-Puyod, Senior Reporter
A specialist paediatrician has raised an alert over children and their tendency to be curious and accidentally inhale or swallow objects.
Dr. Jamuna Raghuraman said in a taped video passed on to Gulf Today on Tuesday evening: “Children are by nature curious. They just explore everything around them and in the process, they may smell, taste and swallow foreign bodies which become diagnostically challenging.”
She stressed that children may keep it to themselves as they are scared to be admonished: “Our responsibility starts from having what we are leaving in their vicinity. We must know the toys we bring home. If possible, keep a picture of the toys to keep count of their parts.”
Raghuraman cautioned, as early on Monday morning (March 8), an ashen, dehydrated Althea Faye Barabacina who had vomited several times and complaining of extreme abdominal pain, was admitted to the Medeor Hospital (Dubai) Emergency Department.
The six-year-old Filipina was X-rayed upon Raghuraman’s consultation with the parents: “She was exhibiting symptoms of intestinal infection.”
They were all “stunned.” The Barabacinas were “terrified” as well. The results had revealed that apart from “swollen and obstructed instestines,” were “flashy substances” that turned out to be a “string of 11 metallic beads.” Althea Faye consequently relented and admitted to have accidentally swallowed the stuff.
Raghuraman said that while 80 per cent of ingested objects or foreign bodies pass to oblivion and 20 per cent have to be extricated by endoscopy, one per cent like those found inside the young Barabacina need to be surgically removed. She enumerated the following as the commonest objects children swallow alongside magnets: coins, buttons, batteries, and safety pins.
Barabacina underwent a one-hour emergency surgery. Specialist general and laparoscopic surgeon Dr. Pinkesh Laxmicant Thakkar said: “By God’s grace, nothing happened. Any further delay would have affected the well-being of the child. The (magnetic metallic beads) already damaged her intestine in three parts. Ten of the magnetic beads had formed a ring in one place while one was on the other side.”
Fully recovered Barabacina was discharged six days later or on March 14 (Sunday). Her parents were grateful.
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