Barbara Gaines remembers the case well:

A 2-year-old girl had grabbed a handful of what looked like M&M’s pieces and swallowed them. They weren’t candy, though. They were refrigerator magnets, and by the time Dr. Gaines saw her at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC, they had stuck together inside her abdomen, pulling together her stomach, small intestine and large intestine.


Mark Roth investigated the dangers of Buckyballs in Wednesday’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Dr. Gaines explains what happens when the magnets are swallowed:

“The problem is when you ingest two or more of these magnets, they want to stick together and they don’t really care that there’s something in between. The force is so great that they make that piece of intestine between the two magnets ischemic,” cutting off its blood supply, “and ultimately they end up with a hole in their intestines.”


That should be graphic enough to make sure kids don’t get their hands on Buckyballs (and other small magnets).

Read Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article here.

Read Health Day article here.

Read previous post on The PediaBlog regarding the ingestion of batteries here.