News and Events

Boy Saved After Swallowing Nineteen Magnetic Game Beads

Publication Date: 11/10/2022 10:30 AM

It was a race against time when three-year-old Ben swallowed nineteen magnetic game beads while playing at his home, in the Haifa district. Doctors at the Ruth Rappaport Children's Hospital at Rambam Health Care Campus, stepped in and saved his life.

The magnetic beads as seen in the X-ray (L) and after removal (R). 
Photoography: Rambam HCCThe magnetic beads as seen in the X-ray (L) and after removal (R). Photoography: Rambam HCC

While playing with his sister at home, Ben, a 3-year-old toddler from a neighborhood in the Haifa district, swallowed nineteen small magnetic game beads. His ten-year-old sister witnessed the event and immediately ran to her parents and told them what had happened.

The frightened parents tried to encourage their son to expel the beads. When that did not work, they immediately contacted their family doctor, who understood the urgency and gravity of the incident. Without delay, Ben was referred to the Cheryl Spencer Pediatric Emergency Room in the Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital at Rambam.

Upon arrival, Ben was taken for an X-ray which clearly showed nineteen magnetic beads in his stomach. If the beads had passed into the boy's digestive system, they could have clumped together and led to intestinal strangulation, resulting in necrosis or other significant damage.

It was a race against time. Ben was transferred to the Wagner Green Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and mulstidisciplanry medical team set out to remove the magnetic beads.

Professor Ron Shaul, Director of the Pediatric Gastroenterology Institute at the Ruth Rappaport Children’s Hospital, recalls, “As we started operating on Ben, we encountered significant amounts of food in his stomach, which hindered our view and access. Ultimately, we successfully removed all the magnetic beads without causing tissue damage. This intervention saved the boy’s life.”