Ireland doctors remove ‘highest’ 55 batteries from woman’s gut and stomach

In Ireland, doctors removed 55 AA and AAA batteries from a woman’s gut and stomach after she swallowed them in a deliberate act of self-harm.

According to a report published by the Irish Medical Journal on Thursday, the 66-year-old woman was getting treated at St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin after devouring an initially “unknown number” of cylindrical batteries, reports Science Alert

The doctor in their report said that this was the highest reported number of “batteries ingested at a single point in time.”

The case perplexed the doctors as several reports published in medical journals mentioned instances of a child swallowing small, button-style batteries. 

“The deliberate ingestion of multiple large AA batteries as a form of deliberate self-harm is an unusual presentation,” the doctors reported.

In the most common cases of battery ingestion among kids, the batteries can sometimes pass through a child’s body without causing damage. However, if they get stuck in the throat, they can cause severe and even life-threatening injuries, according to UCSF’s Benioff Children’s Hospitals.

This is because saliva kick-starts an electric current in the trapped batteries, spurring a chemical reaction that can burn the esophagus and can lead to severe tissue damage and bleeding.

“The potential of cylindrical batteries to result in acute surgical emergencies should not be underestimated,” the case report states.

In the woman’s case, an X-ray revealed that the batteries in her abdomen did not appear to be obstructing her gastrointestinal (GI) tract and no batteries showed signs of structural damage.

After a week of observation, the doctors performed laparotomy on the woman, in which surgeons made an incision to access her abdominal cavity. They found that the stomach, pulled down by the weight of the batteries, had become distended and stretched into the area above the pubic bone

They then cut a small hole in the stomach and removed the batteries from the organ.

(With inputs from agencies)


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