In an rare life-saving technique, doctors at the KMC Hospital in Mangaluru used an powerful magnet to save the life of a nine-year-old girl who swallowed a magnet, which got stuck in her windpipe.

The girl was rushed to the hospital with respiratory misery after she had aspirated a toy magnet while playing at home. Since the object was stuck in the windpipe, doctor faced a complicated situation. A x-ray showed the magnet was stopped in the primary bronchi of the right lung. Dr Jayateertha Joshi, paediatric surgeon, chose to quickly move the child to the operation theatre and play out a horoscope, a procedure to check for variations from the norm, for example, damage and bleeding to the girl’s airway.

“We had a few difficulties while operating this case,” said Joshi. “The odds of an endoscopy failing were high and removing the magnet with forceps was tricky given its smooth surface. After a few rounds of discussion with our anaesthesiologist Dr Sunil we realised that removing such an large object could have obstructed the main wind pipe (trachea), prompting trouble in influencing the kid to inhale under anaesthesia.”

Joshi uncovered that the team chose to acquire a more stronger magnet and move the one stopped in the child’s windpipe to the surface while keeping the bronchoscope in the windpipe to track the object.

“When it achieved the inlet of the wind pipe, removing turned out to be simple,” Joshi said. “The chil was released the next day.”

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