Fox 5 New York reported that 2-year-old Brianna Florer, of Jay, Oklahoma, died after swallowing one of the batteries, which are small, silver, and shaped like a button.
While some batteries pass through the body without causing harm, others can be life-threatening when they get stuck in the esophagus and expose the body to an alkaline substance, the news station reported.
Her family said there weren’t any warning signs until it was too late.
Vice said Brianna didn’t feel well on Christmas, but it was nothing out of the ordinary and she was back to her spirited self by the time she celebrated with him on the 26th. Brianna was the heartbeat of the holiday.
“Couldn’t have been anything better about it; it was an excellent, perfect Christmas,” he said.
It wasn’t until 10:30 Sunday night that Brianna’s symptoms showed up. Her mom called Vice to tell him his granddaughter was throwing up blood.
She was rushed to the Grove hospital in Oklahoma, where an X-ray showed Brianna had swallowed a nickel-sized battery. She needed to get to Tulsa for surgery quickly. Because the weather was bad, the medical helicopters were grounded, so she had to be driven by ambulance.
“They did what they could. I feel that 100-percent with my heart,” Vice said about the medical teams.
Doctors told the family the battery had lodged in Brianna’s esophagus and caused her to bleed badly.
She was in an operating room for two-and-a-half hours, but doctors couldn’t stop the bleeding. Brianna died few days after Christmas.
“Never in my mind would it have entered that something like this could happen from one of those batteries or they wouldn’t have been there. I assure you,” her grandpa said.
The family doesn’t know where Brianna got the battery. They don’t know when she swallowed it. Vice said Brianna wasn’t the type of toddler who put everything in her mouth.
What the family does know is their sweet Brianna’s life ended before it ever really began.
“Every person’s got to make their own decision, but, at least, when they make that decision of having these in their house, they need to know what they can do,” Vice said. “I wouldn’t wish what we just went through on any other, living human.”
Vice said Brianna’s story is reaching people on other continents who have been affected by the damage a button battery can cause.
“We’ve been contacted from families around the world – from the UK, from Australia, different countries. This happens,” he said. “It’d be my wish to just get them out of the houses period, but I don’t think that would probably happen.”
“We’d love to take it further, but I don’t know that we’ve got the ability to have that kind of contacts,” Vice said. “I would hope that it would get enough attention and the right support that, at least, it’s thoroughly looked at to see what’s happening.”
Friends of the family have set up an online fundraising account to help support Brianna’s family.