A four-year-old boy from the Upper Galilee was rushed by his mother to the Ziv Medical Center in Safed, suffering from severe pain after having inserted a battery into his nose 12 hours earlier.
At first the toddler told his parents that he had been playing with a silver coin that entered his nose, but the parents thought he was joking because they were careful not to keep coins within his reach, and mainly because he did not report feeling pain.
Twelve hours later, when he began to cry and complain about pain and a bloody discharge from the nose, he showed his parents what he had played with: a round flat battery used in electronic toys.
The frightened mother rushed to the pediatric emergency room at the Ziv Medical Center, where she was brought to Dr. Ella Even Tov, a senior Ear, Nose, and Throat physician who removed the battery from the baby's nose as quickly as possible in a minimally invasive procedure which was complicated due to edema and bleeding caused by the battery.
Dr. Even Tov says that foreign objects in the nose or mouth of 3-4 year olds are very common, as this is a developmental stage in which they learn their body and the world around them and experiment with many tastes and smells of objects.
Unlike other objects, the physician's attitude towards batteries is different and requires urgent intervention: "A battery is seemingly like any other foreign object, such as money, beads, etc. But in reality it is an emergency situation, because when a battery comes into contact with the body and its fluids, it begins to generate electrical currents that cause pain and leak dangerous corrosive material, causing severe chemical burns to the tissues, so it must be removed from the body without delay and every minute counts."
Dr. Even Tov said that "in the present case, we managed to remove the battery immediately, made possible by preparing him for general anesthesia, after he'd been fasting, and endoscopic exploration of the nasal cavity, damage assessment, removing remaining secretions and necrosis."
The battery was successfully removed, but it is not known how much damage was caused to the toddler who will need to be monitored for continued treatment.
Dr. Even-Tov stresses, "If there is a suspicion of a button battery or other foreign object, do not procrastinate.You must contact the emergency room immediately at any time, without delay."