Indiana Boy Rushed to Hospital After Swallowing 27 Magnets: ‘It Can Happen in a Split Second’

Maria Pasquini
·2 min read

Courtesy Jessica MacNair Peyton MacNair

An Indiana mother is sharing her son’s story in an effort to increase awareness about how dangerous swallowing magnets can be.

Last September, when her son Peyton was 4, Jessica MacNair had to make an emergency trip to the hospital after her son swallowed 27 magnets — two of which got stuck to the sides of his uvula.

While Peyton, who has autism, was playing with the magnets, his stepfather had to step out for a few minutes in order to take a call, MacNair told Today. When he returned, Peyton was crying and said that there was something in his throat.

“I looked in the back of his throat and saw two magnets stuck together, one on each side of his uvula,” said MacNair, a 30-year-old science teacher.

Although she could only see two of the magnets, after realizing that the rest of the set her son had been playing with was nowhere to be found, she rushed her son to the emergency room.

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While many people may not “realize the dangers of swallowing magnets,” thanks to an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, MacNair knew that “they could tear through tissue and the body.”

“It can happen to anyone and it can happen in a split second,” she added.

Courtesy Jessica MacNair Peyton MacNair

A hospital X-Ray confirmed that in addition to the two magnets on his uvula, Peyton had an additional 25 magnets in his stomach — and doctors knew they had to act quickly.

“These neodymium magnets, even if they are small, they can be really powerful,” Dr. Michael Foreman, a gastroenterologist who treated Peyton, told Today. “They can end up giving you a hole in your bowel and that is the worst-case scenario. That can be devastating and result in surgery or resection.”

"We've seen cases triple, up to nearly 3,000 (a year)," added Foreman. "There are few emergencies in pediatric gastroenterology and this is one of them."

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Fortunately, doctors were able to remove all 25 magnets by inserting a thin tube with a scope at the end down the boy’s throat — and besides feeling a little sore the next day, Peyton otherwise felt great.

“He was fine after that,” his mom told Today, noting that they no longer keep magnets, or any small toys, in their home.

“I still see parents buying these for their kids and they are advertised as toys," she cautioned. "Most people don’t realize the dangers of swallowing magnets. Even if it is just one or two."