Docs, beware the laws of attraction

The three-year-old was asymptomatic on presentation though an x-ray revealed a “string-like formation” of magnetic balls in his stomach.

“Physicians need to be aware that ingestion of multiple magnetic beads can lead to severe harm,” the authors said, in a report entitled Ingested Magnets: Catch or Let Go?

“This is in contrast with other foreign bodies – including sharp objects or disk batteries – which pass through the intestine in the majority of cases spontaneously without complications.”

The boy’s magnets were retrieved via an emergency endoscopic procedure, and without complication, before they could enter his small intestine.

Magnets can cause problems if they make their way on to opposite sides of bodily tissue such as between mucosal folds of the stomach or loops of bowel.

The attractive forces can block or perforate the gut, the doctors warn.