4-year-old who swallowed battery has throat rebuilt using his ri - KMSP-TV

4-year-old who swallowed battery has throat rebuilt using his rib

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CINCINNATI -

Cell batteries power everything from watches to pacemakers. Nearly 4,000 Americans are injured by them every year and one Cincinnati boy is the latest after he swallowed one.

Four-year-old Emmett Rauch managed to swallow the battery while at home with family. The acid and electrical charge burned through his throat leaving him unable to eat, breathe, or speak on his own.

"He had just turned one and he was kind of crawling around our house cruising along furniture and we noticed he started having a fever mid-morning and we were kind of alarmed,” said his mother, Karla. “We're overly cautious parents and this is probably a good thing, but we ended taking him to an urgent care because it was a Saturday."

But the doctor sensed something was wrong.

“As we were about to leave, they sent us to the emergency room just because she had a feeling something wasn't right,” said Karla. “An X-ray was taken and they could see the button battery lodged in his esophagus. They could actually read the serial number of the battery in the X-ray."

He suffered severe injuries and it left him unable to breathe, eat or speak on his own.

But thanks to some resourceful doctors at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Emmett had to undergo procedures to rebuild his throat.

"We were able to take a segment of the colon from the abdomen, move it up to his chest and his neck and recreate a tube that allows him to swallow,” said Dr. Daniel Von Allman.

For his latest surgery, Dr. Alessandro de Alarcon of Children's Hospital said, "We take a piece of rib cartilage and then we actually insert it into the airway so we can divide part of his voice box and put the rib in there and it actually makes it physically a little bit bigger, enough so that he can breathe.”

The battery that Emmett swallowed popped out of a remote control.

Karla Rauch is working with legislators to attempt to require battery covers to be held in place with screws rather than just springs.

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