A 23-month-old boy tragically died after ingesting a small button battery from a remote control.
Johnathan Huff from North Carolina swallowed a tiny button battery that burned through his esophagus, aorta, and intestines, causing heavy bleeding.
He passed away only four days after he ingested the battery.
His heartbroken parents, paramedic AJ Huff, 34, and physical assistant Jackie Huff, 35, thought their son had a viral infection.
But after visiting the doctor twice, Johnathan started vomiting so much blood that he suddenly lost consciousness.
His father performed CPR while waiting for emergency services to arrive – but he tragically died.
“Johnathan’s passing has been devastating,” Jackie expressed. “It’s not the way that life’s supposed to go. As morbid as it sounds, Johnathan should be picking where we would be buried, hopefully decades from now, not the other way round.
“How do you pick a nice spot in the ground for your child?
“When we had Johnathan after (his four-year-old brother) Michael my mommy heart was complete.
“It’s just such a shocking blow to go from being this perfect little family to neither of us having any idea what we’re supposed to do now.”
The mother-of-two believes that during the morning rush, their son managed to get hold of the battery and ate it.
“AJ and I have gone over in our heads a million times and we have no idea, we can only imagine it was during that 20-minute time span,” Jackie continued.
“At some point one of us didn’t have eyes on him. We know all this now because of how everything played out but the assumption is that the battery came from that remote.”
“We kept all remotes up out of their reach on a bar counter about 4.5 feet up. I stuck all the remotes in a little pail to keep them together,” she said. “The back of the remote was off when we found it but of course the battery wasn’t in there.
“There’s no way it fell off the counter but Johnathan had only just got tall enough to use the barstool to reach up to it.
“There’s no lock on the remote back, one little tiny push and it falls right off.”
Jackie’s heart stopped beating when Johnathan’s teacher called and said that her son was vomiting blood.
“I beat the ambulance and when I got there he was sat in one of the teacher’s lap, he looked very pale and really tired, but his vital signs looked good.
‘The paramedics said it was a nosebleed and that the blood probably dripped down his nose, down the back of his throat and irritated his stomach, made him nauseous and throw up.
“It’s a reasonable explanation and it’s exactly what I would say as a medical professional, 100%.”
The young boy was checked out by a doctor who also agreed that was the explanation but they were told to return if anything happened.
The next day, Johnathan’s temperature rose to 101F and they rushed him back to the pediatrician, who suggested it may be a viral illness.
Johnathan had a chest x-ray, was swabbed for coronavirus, and was believed to be suffering from bronchiolitis.
“When the doctor called me and said to take it easy and keep him hydrated through the weekend, sounded good to me,” Jackie said.
“There was no battery on that x-ray picture, the only explanation is that the battery must have already travelled lower than the chest at this point.”
The next day, his fever seemed to break and he requested some Dorito chips, which his parents thought was a “good sign that his little appetite was back.”
“We put him down to nap but at around 9 am I heard him cough really hard on the monitor,” Jackie shared.
“I picked him up, then he coughed again and vomited bright red blood all down my shirt. It was a lot, it was very shocking.
“I pulled my phone out to get directions to the nearest hospital and while AJ was holding Johnathan I glanced over at him and he was posturing like he was having a seizure.”
“We knew it was serious, we knew he needed to go to the ER.”
Johnathan was rushed to Moses H. Cone Hospital where he tragically died. An autopsy revealed that a small battery was found in his intestines and the cause of death was hemorrhage into the gastrointestinal tract and esophageal and aortic wall erosion.
“I just want to make every parent aware of the dangers and make people realise just how many devices have these batteries all over your home,” Jackie said. “In this case, the back of the remote slides right off, it wasn’t screwed down.
“After this happened we started doing research into it, something as simple as putting duct tape over the back of the remote could have stopped this.
“Duct tape is hard for adults to get off, a two-year-old is not going to be able to open it.
“I can’t bring back Johnathan, but if there is anything I can do to make more parents search through their homes, then that’s something.”
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