Child makes 'miraculous' recovery after swallowing battery then throwing it up in hospital

A little girl from Fife has made a miraculous recovery after accidentally eating a battery then throwing it up in hospital.

By Hamish Morrison
Thursday, 9th December 2021, 9:55 am

Sarah Wallace, nine, swallowed a small button battery from the remote control of her nightlight at around 10pm on November 22, after remembering that weeks earlier she had enjoyed the texture of putting a small metal necklace in her mouth.

Despite being worried about getting into trouble, Sarah confessed to her mum and stepdad what she had done, and within 10 minutes of them calling 999, she had started screaming and clutching her chest at their home in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

Mum-of-one Joanne Wallace, 35, a customer service assistant and her husband Jamie Longland, 38, a gas engineer, drove to Victoria Hospital rather than waiting for an ambulance as Sarah was panting, “clutching her chest and bent over.”

Ms Wallace said: “She was wearing a necklace a few weeks ago and she put it in her mouth and it tasted metallic.

"When she was feeling the battery and realised it was metal, she put it in her mouth to taste the texture.

"She just happened to need to swallow her saliva.

"She didn't put it in to eat it.”

Child makes 'miraculous' recovery after swallowing battery then throwing it up in hospital

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Ms Wallace continued to say that Sarah wasn’t in a panic when she came down the stairs to talk to them, but she clearly thought she was going to get in trouble.

"She told us she had swallowed something and once we worked out it was a battery, I immediately phoned 999,” she said.

"Within ten minutes of being in the hospital, she'd already been X-rayed and they identified the battery and where it was.

Sarah Wallace in hospital recovering after swallowing a battery at her home in Kirkcaldy, Fife.

"They gave her diamorphine up her nose to calm her down, because her breathing was quite bad by this point.

"It made her choke and when she choked she threw up and the battery came up onto the floor of the hospital.

"It was black and blue and leaking.

"It looked like you'd left the battery in something for six months too long."

Sarah Wallace's mum Joanne Wallace and stepdad Jamie Longland.

Sarah is still taking omeprazole as the battery caused scarring after it began leaking in her oesophagus, but was spared more serious harm after the meds up her nose caused her to vomit it up so quickly.

She was moved to the Royal Hospital for Children and Young People in Edinburgh for a further assessment after the battery was out of her system.

At 7pm on November 23, the following day, she was taken for an internal inspection to see how much damage had been done.

Ms Wallace described the moment that Sarah was “taken down and put to sleep” for the assessment as “quite possibly the most terrifying moment” of her life, but added that within 20 minutes she was back on the ward eating toast and drinking milk.

She said her oesophagus has been burned so will scar slightly when it heals, but it could have been much worse.

An X-ray of Sarah Wallace's chest after she ate a battery at her home in Kirkcaldy Fife.

Doctors told her that because the battery had only been there for an hour, the scarring will be minimal and will “make no difference to her life at all."

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