A few months ago Dr Henley Harrison visited our offices asking for some small magnets to make into prototypes to pull magnetic foreign objects out of children’s bodies. If a child swallows a small battery, according to Dr. Harrison, you do not have much time to act. “There is a real urgency to get these batteries out…in as little as two hours the batteries start to liquefy tissue”, (dissolve flesh).
In an email to AMF Magnets he writes, “…there have been two fatalities recently, in… Queensland… penetration of the aorta, the body’s main artery, and… in Victoria, due to oesophageal foreign bodies….” (battery).
Batteries and other metallic objects also need to be removed from children’s noses and ears, quickly.
Further into the same email, Dr. Harrison states, “I see a place for magnets to be adapted”, (the prototypes), “to pull magnetic foreign bodies out of children’s noses, ears, gullets….and breathing passages in the lower neck and chest…. They could also be used to remove hearing aid batteries from the ears of older people on occasion”. The need for these interventions he writes, is becoming greater now because of the increasing use of small or button batteries in remote controls, toys…and similar devices.
Designing his own instruments using magnets, Dr Harrison is trying to improve on the existing practice of using forceps to remove foreign objects lodged in the oesophagus or lungs. It is a privilege for us at AMF Magnets to meet and assist in a small way with individuals as creative and determined as Dr Harrison. We are reminded by such engagements that he embodies the finest traditions of medicine. Finding better ways to heal patients when trouble strikes. Thanks to simpler less painful methods of treatment, the small children may not even remember the drama they caused by ingesting a small dangerous battery. A debt of gratitude they may never know they owe to professionals of the calibre of Dr. Harrison. But we know.