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My Son Died After Swallowing a Button Battery

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A mom of three lost her precious baby ... now she wants to warn other moms about this hidden danger.

aidan truett

Michelle Truett: My 1-year-old baby boy Aidan recently passed away on November 22, 2009. Unbeknownst to us, he had swallowed a button battery.

Aidan had just turned 1 in October, and had always been a very healthy child. (I have two other kids -- ages 9 and 4.) In mid-November, he showed signs of having the flu -- he was not holding any food down.

I took him to the doctor, and he said he had a viral infection and sent us home.

But he was not getting better -- he was getting worse. We took him back the next day and said we thought he had swallowed something. They did an X-ray of his stomach, but didn't find anything.

The next day, he had increased saliva and was so congested, so we took him for a second opinion. They didn't find anything.

We just knew something was wrong. We went to five or six doctor's appointments in a week and a half. We kept saying, 'We think he has swallowed something." Exactly one week after the first X-ray, they did another one, and found a button battery in his stomach.

We have no idea where Aidan got the battery. We checked all the toys and remotes in our house and in his babysitter's house, and none were found missing. I guess we'll never know where he got it from.

Surgery to remove the battery was done on the 19th. They removed it successfully and said everything would be okay. They didn't see any signs of irritation or anything.

Aidan came home that evening without any complications, but still had the congestion. They said that was from his viral respiratory infection.

Two days later, on Saturday night around 9:45 PM, I heard Aidan coughing in his crib. I ran up to find him sitting up in his crib completely covered in blood.

I'm a nurse, so I took him downstairs and swiped his mouth. It was full of blood clots. My baby boy was hemorrhaging.

Aidan had gone into cardiac arrest. I started CPR. He was then transported to the ER and airlifted to the local children's hospital. Nobody was ever able to revive him, despite several hours of advanced cardiac life support.

After four hours of trying, there was nothing more that could be done. My son was pronounced dead at 2:30 AM on Sunday, November 22nd.

We had an autopsy, because we had a feeling his death had to do with the battery. I was told after the autopsy that an erosion was found in his esophagus leading to the aorta. We are assuming this is from the battery ingestion. A final report has not yet been given to us.

I feel if they could have found the battery sooner, when we first brought him to the doctor, this could have had a different outcome. A full week passed between our first and second X-rays. The button probably sat inside his esophagus for quite some time in order for it to erode like it did. You would have thought they would have seen something when they went in to remove the button battery from his stomach.

Now, I am trying to get the word out to other mothers about the dangers of button batteries. I hope I can even spare one parent this pain. We had a perfect child one minute, and the next minute he was gone.

Keep button batteries out of reach of children. Treat them as if they are dangerous medications. Don't leave them lying around for any reason. You never know if your kids or if your kids' friends will get ahold of them. They're tiny disks, and they're shiny, so they're appealing to babies and toddlers. They come in singing greeting cards, watches, and handheld games. A lot of toys for kids have them. You have to be so careful.

My message for medical professionals is to listen to the parents. I'm a mom who doesn't take her kids to the doctor for every little thing. But I was at the doctor six times in a week and a half because I knew something was wrong. I feel like they kind of brushed me off a bit. I'm not the kind of person who wants to blame, but I hope they can take this as a learning experience.

I really feel it is necessary to get my story out there to prevent any more tragedies like this. Hospitals, doctors, and parents need to understand the life-threatening danger of these batteries.

If we can help save another life, it's like Aidan will live on in some way.

aidan truett

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51 comments so far | Post a comment now
Sara January 12, 2010, 5:21 AM

I am so, so sorry. I have often found those batteries laying around my house and have no idea where they came from. I will certainly treat them as as far more dangerous from now on. Thank you.

I am so sorry that this happened to your son. Hugs hugs.

Ellen  January 12, 2010, 7:00 AM

I am sorry beyond words for your tragedy, Michelle. I think you are very, very brave for speaking up about what happened to protect other children out there. I know from my own experience how cathartic that can be. I hope it is reassuring for you during this time in your life that this post will surely save other children.

momalwayslearning January 12, 2010, 9:09 AM

i am so very sorry for your loss. Thank you for your bravery in sharing the warning of those tiny batteries. I will check my floors even more closely now. Never know what toys or other things that might have that battery. This story is heartbreaking…you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you again for helping other mothers and children.

Kristy January 12, 2010, 9:31 AM

Thank you for speaking out on this matter and warning all parents of the dangers of these batteries. I am truly sorry for your loss and wish you and your family the best in your time of tragedy.

Stephanie January 12, 2010, 10:36 AM

I can’t even imagine how much pain you and your family must be in. Your baby was beautiful and I’m so sorry this happened. Thank you so much for sharing your story. I have an infant and it had never even occurred to me to think about this sort of thing. I will definitely be on the look out and I’ll share your story with other parents and parents-to-be that I know.

Stephanie January 12, 2010, 10:39 AM

I can’t even imaging how much pain you and your family are going through. Thank you so much for posting your story. I have an infant and it never even occurred to me to think about button batteries. I’ll definitely share your story with other parents and parents-to-be that I know. I’m so sorry that this happened to your beautiful baby.

nutmac January 12, 2010, 1:51 PM

We should be careful about regular Alkaline batteries too. You know, stuff commonly used on remote controls and toys.

Many leak over time, a chemical called potassium hydroxide, that can cause respiratory, eyes and skin irritation.

Jolene January 12, 2010, 1:59 PM

I am so sorry for your loss, Michelle. Thank you for sharing your story.

suburbangranola January 12, 2010, 2:20 PM

I am so sorry. Thank you so much for speaking out. There is no telling how many lives you will save.

beckie January 12, 2010, 3:46 PM

My heart just hurts for you and your husband and your children. I am so sorry for the heartache you are experiencing. Moms just know things sometimes don’t we. I wish they had listened to you. May God bless you.

tennmom January 12, 2010, 4:35 PM

I can’t imagine what you have been through. No matter how careful we are as parents, things happen. I have always been so careful with my kids, but they have STILL managed to get ahold of something that could harm them.

Beth January 12, 2010, 5:13 PM

this made me cry. So sorry for your loss. You are in my thoughts.

Haley-O (Cheaty) January 12, 2010, 5:55 PM

I’m so sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing your story. Hugs and blessings to you and your family.

Lauren @ Hobo Mama January 12, 2010, 5:58 PM

That is the saddest thing. I’m so very sorry for your loss. I’m crying for the loss of your precious boy and am so sorry you felt dismissed by the medical staff. Thank you for the warning about this danger to help other families.

Brenda January 12, 2010, 6:09 PM

I’m so sorry for your loss. What a great thing you are doing in sharing your story to help other families. Thank you and God bless you.

kelly manz January 12, 2010, 6:21 PM

My heart is breaking as I read your story. Thank you for sharing this, despite this being a hard time for you. i am so sorry for your loss. I am also sorry the doctors didn’t find the battery sooner.

arizonamamma January 12, 2010, 6:52 PM

Thank you for sharing your story and perhaps sparing the life of other babies out there. I have two toddlers myself, and have never thought about the button batteries as such a serious threat. My heart aches for you over the tremendous loss you have experienced. no words can truly convey how deep my sympathy runs. May peace be in your hearts.

Andy January 12, 2010, 6:56 PM

So sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing such a valuable tip. In such a terrible time, your kindness in sharing the information to potentially spare another’s loss is touching. Bless you and your family.

Mia January 12, 2010, 7:47 PM

I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ll have your family in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your story. I have never thought about those things.

Eve Piercy January 12, 2010, 10:27 PM

You are so strong for letting us all know about this. I just can’t imagine the pain you feel! You are in our prayers.

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