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Northern Ireland girl left with permanent throat damage after swallowing button battery

Published 22/09/2016

Valeria with her mum Jelena at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Pic BBC
Valeria with her mum Jelena at Great Ormond Street Hospital. Pic BBC
What one of the batteries looks like
The X-ray showing the lithium button battery she swallowed

A three-year-old Northern Ireland girl has been left with permanent throat damage after swallowing a small 'button' battery.

In April 2015 Valeria became ill and refused to eat her food, the BBC reports.

It was not until five days later an x-ray showed that she had swallowed a small battery which had became lodged in her throat.

By that time it had burned a hole through her oesophagus and windpipe.

Valeria needed surgery numerous times and had part of her oesophagus removed. She required nine months of specialist treatment at Great Ormond Street Hospital in London and still needs to regularly visit.

Doctors made a hole in her neck and attached a bag to collect saliva or other liquids to prevent them getting into her lungs.

She also has a special button on her tummy that that liquid food goes through.

Doctors are planning to put a metal support, called a stent, into what is left of her oesophagus and they may eventually lift her stomach into her chest to create a new food pipe.

"In many ways Valeria is now a normal three-year-old who likes Play-Doh and playing doctors, but she still needs a lot more operations to help her recover," her mother Jelena said.

More: Mother's warning after toddler was almost killed by swallowed battery 

Doctors are warning of the dangers of the small batteries and the risk they pose to children saying they should be treated like poison in the home.

When the batteries get covered in mucus that creates an electrical circuit and releases an alkali which burns through the body.

Great Ormond Street Hospital said it has seen a huge increase in cases over the past 10 years.

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