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The dad of a little boy left critically ill by a button battery said his son will never recover from his near-death experience.
Ollie Lennon was only one year old when his parents noticed that he was struggling to keep down solid food but medics initially thought he had croup or asthma.
It wasn't until several days later that an x-ray revealed a button battery lodged in his throat, Stoke-on-Trent Live reports.
His dad Elliott today spoke about his brave youngster's ordeal after learning of the paper's Harper-Lee's Law campaign, launched in memory of two-year-old Harper-Lee Fanthorpe who died after swallowing one of the batteries.
One-year-old Ollie underwent a total of twenty-eight operations to save his life, including one in which surgeons had to get behind his heart.
He had presented at the hospital on May 29 with a cough and not being able to keep down food, but it was not until Ollie’s parents made a chance discovery about button batteries that the full seriousness of his condition was discovered.
Mr Lennon said the ordeal began on May 27, 2017.
He said: “We’d been out as a family for the day, came back home for lunch and the kids were on their own in the front room while we were making them a sandwich. We’re talking the space of a minute.
“The next thing we’ve gone in there and Ollie was being a bit strange, not coughing but kind of choking that you could hear.
“Any food that was going in just came straight back out.
“We phoned 111 and they didn’t think much of it, because water was going down, fluids were going down.
“When we tried to feed him again, he threw up like a blood clot, it was really nasty. My wife took him down to the hospital, this was Worthing hospital.
“After running a couple of tests they just said they think he’s got croup or asthma.”
Ollie was taken back to the hospital on May 30, and on this visit, an x-ray found that Ollie had a battery lodged in his throat.
“I rushed out from work down to the hospital. Worthing Hospital doesn’t deal with medical traumas for children under three, they can’t physically operate so we had to sign a social waiver for them to pull out the battery.”
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But even though the battery was removed Ollie still sustained injuries which meant he had to be transferred to Great Ormond Street Hospital in London.
Due to the level of intensive care, he was receiving, medical staff warned Elliott that Ollie had a 10% of surviving the journey from the ICU to the ambulance, never mind the journey to Greater Ormond Street Hospital.
After life-saving surgery and months of recovery, Ollie survived, but the damage created by caustic soda from the reaction of his tissue and the battery has left him very ill.
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Even a common cold could be lethal to Ollie, as it could close his trachea and stop him breathing, so during covid the family have been extremely careful, not leaving the house for six months.
“He will never fully recover,” said Elliott. "He will never be able to exercise like other children."
The surgery that Ollie underwent has also left him with a large scar on his chest, and another from being fed directly into his stomach for several months.
Stoke-On-Trent Live want you to show your support for Harper-Lee's law to ban button batteries in non-essential items by signing a petition here.
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