Girl, 4, dies after swallowing lithium battery

A 4-year-old girl died in 2013 after swallowing a small lithium battery - she was taken to the hospital 3 times after she started vomiting blood but doctors didn't know what was wrong with her.


An inquest heard that Summer Steer went into cardiac arrest after ingesting the button-shaped battery on June 30, 2013, despite doctors telling her mother she would be fine, ABC reports.

The four-year-old Queenlander from Australia, was taken to Noosa Hospital after she began complaining of a sore stomach, a high temperature and black bowel movements. Shortly after, she began vomiting blood and collapsed at home after being discharged by doctors.

Her mother, Andrea Shoesmith, gave evidence at an inquest into her daughter's death yesterday July 7th. She told the inquest she took Summer to the family doctor on June 13 and 17 after she began feeling unwell.This was followed by two visits to Noosa Hospital in the early hours of the morning on the day she died after she had a nose bleed and began vomiting blood, the inquest heard. Ms Shoesmith explained that on the first visit, which lasted 15 minutes, the doctor told her it was common to be sick after swallowing blood from a nose bleed.

Summer got just outside the hospital when she again vomited blood, which had changed colour to a brighter red.The same doctor then placed the little girl under observation for four hours but assured Ms Shoesmith it was safe to take Summer home, despite her insistence something was wrong, the inquest heard.Summer then slept for an hour at home before vomiting blood again and collapsing.When her mother took her to Noosa Hospital for a third time, she was flown to a Brisbane hospital where she suffered a heart attack and died.The two-day inquest, which began on Tuesday morning, will examine her medical care and assess the need for any recommendations to prevent future deaths.Summer was the first child in Australia to die from swallowing a lithium battery. It is estimated around 260 children swallow lithium batteries each year in Australia. When ingested, the batteries can have a chemical reaction to saliva which causes them to burn through tissue.The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has met with battery manufacturers and retailers to discuss measures to make the products safer for children.


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