Doctors remove digital watch cell from lungs of 11-year-old

Doctors at Jaslok Hospital on Monday removed the cell of a digital watch from the lungs of an 11-year-old boy, reviving him within 24 hours of his admission.

The patient was rushed to the hospital on Sunday night after accidentally swallowing the dry cell while playing with it. He was coughing and facing difficulties in breathing when he was brought in.

Dr. Harish Chafle, a consultant of respiratory medicine at the hospital, along with other doctors and anesthetists, took an X-Ray and discovered that the cell was lodged in his lungs.

Doctors said the acid in the cell was oozing out and spreading inside the area. Batteries are very dangerous as they contain various toxicants, which cause a burning sensation in the esophagus, and if not administered proper medication, could prove fatal.

The doctors decided to perform a video bronchoscopy, using forceps to remove the lungs.

“It was a challenge since the boy is only 11-year-old. The bronchoscopy had to be performed spontaneously even as he was breathing. A flexible plastic tube called the ‘endotracheal tube’ was placed through the mouth into the windpipe to help the boy breathe,” Dr. Chafle said.

He said, “The cell would not have come out through the endotracheal tube as it was difficult to catch it without the risk of further dislodgement in the distal airways, where one can’t reach through the bronchoscope. In that case, surgical removal would have been the only option, which would have involved cutting his lungs open surgically.”

The child was discharged after 24 hours of treatment.

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