Near-Fatal Attraction: 10-Year-Old Swallows Magnets, Suffers Torn Stomach And Intestine

The magnets Brady swallowed, linked up inside him. KFOR News Channel

Magnets are supposed to be fun — they decorate the refrigerator, teach kids about science, and help us stick things to blackboards. What they aren’t supposed to do is get themselves swallowed, but a dangerous pattern is emerging among children and sucking the fun right out of the tiny toys.

Brady Westphal, a 10 year old from Oklahoma, fell victim to this trend, swallowing a handful of magnets.

“This is a line of eight, exactly how many Brady swallowed,” the boy’s mom, Peggy, told KFOR.

Doctors said the magnets ripped through Brady’s stomach and intestines, tearing a damaging path through his entire abdomen.

“These magnets, especially if swallowed at different times, the magnets don’t move all the way through the intestinal tract,” said Dr. John Grunow. “And then they pinch together one to another, and the tissue in between gets pinched, and the blood supply gets lost. The tissue ultimately dies.”

It may sound like a freak accident, but this is a situation doctors at the Children’s Hospital at Oklahoma University Medical Center have seen twice in just a few weeks.

“The reality is they can be deadly,” Grunow said of the magnet-related emergencies cropping up all over the nation. “I’m not trying to overstate it. They can be deadly.”

Brady’s original symptoms resembled those of a stomach flu, so officials are warning parents to be vigilant. Brady and his family are just thankful to be back at home with their son recovering.

“I took a moment for myself. That’s when I broke down and cried, because I was glad that everything was okay,” said Brady’s father, Shane Westphal. “It could have been a lot worse for him.”

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