A mum-of-three has described the “scariest moment of my life” after her youngest son swallowed a lithium BATTERY – which almost burned a hole through his oesophagus.
Little Lee Turner, now ten, had been playing around with a battery-powered tealight that he keeps in his bedroom and uses as a nightlight – and, unbeknownst to his mum, had managed to take the light apart.
The youngster, who was nine years old at the time of the incident on Christmas Eve, started to play around with the lithium battery, throwing it in the air and trying to catch it.
But things took a horror turn when the battery came sailing down through the air and right into Lee’s mouth – and he swallowed it.
Lee’s terrified mum, Nicki, 33, had to rush him to hospital late that night, and the youngster was whizzed into surgery at 5am on Christmas morning.
And Nicki, from Witham, Essex, said doctors told her that if Lee had waited ten more minutes to be taken to surgery, the lithium battery, which was lodged in his windpipe, would have burnt a whole through his oesophagus.
The oesophagus is the muscular tube that connects the mouth to the stomach.
Miraculously, Lee managed to escape completely unscathed from the incident, without so much as any swelling or scarring – and is now back to his normal, happy self, Nicki says.
But the mum-of-three, who also has two daughters aged 17 and 13, said: “It was the most terrifying moment of my life.
“I didn’t even realise how serious it was until we got to the hospital.
“But after the doctors spoke to me, I didn’t even think we were going to be able to celebrate Lee’s tenth birthday with him, on January 6.
“He was so scared in hospital, asking me if he was going to die or if they were going to cut him open. I had to tell him not to panic otherwise I would have panicked more.
“But amazingly, he’s absolutely fine – there’s no scarring, no swelling, it left no damage at all. He’s a very lucky boy.”
Nicki, who works as a carer for vulnerable adults with disabilities, now wants to raise awareness of how dangerous lithium batteries can be – and to keep them away from young children and babies.
She said: “I just want to get it out there as much as possible and make people aware that lithium batteries are so dangerous. I don’t even think they should be sold.
“Lee has had that tealight in his room for two years – he was given it by his school, and likes to have it on when he goes to sleep.
“But what I didn’t realise is that, where there should usually be a screw in place to stop kids from being able to get to the lithium battery, that actually wasn’t there.
“So he’d managed to take apart the entire tealight and get the battery out. He was just throwing it in the air and trying to catch it, like kids do – but it landed in his mouth.”
Nicki added that she was left “bemused” when her son came downstairs in the evening on December 24, and asked for a glass of water.
She said: “He never drinks water. I asked him what was going on, and he told me he’d swallowed something metal.
“He didn’t know what it was, so I got him to draw it for me and I realised straight away it was a battery.”
Nicki’s father-in-law had to rush her and her son to Broomfield A&E, in Chelmsford, Essex.
And the following morning – at 3.30am on Christmas Day – Nicki and Lee were blue-lighted over 40 miles to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge, so that Lee could have surgery.
Lee’s surgery took almost two hours – but Nicki said: “We’re all just very thankful and feel very lucky to have him home with us today, and back to his usual self.
“I think he’s learned his lesson about not going near batteries, too.”