Dr. Saad Saad is a pediatric surgeon who has spent over forty years caring for the health and well-being of numerous children. A common issue that he has dealt with in his tenure in the medical field has been removing foreign objects that a child may swallow. Read more: Life Lessons from Dr. Saad Saad, Pediatric Surgeon and When a Child Swallows a Foreign Object – Advice by Dr. Saad Saad
He has personally dealt with this situation thousands of times. Young children often let their curiosity get the best of them and tend to swallow objects they should avoid. In most of these instances, the swallowed item will pass through the child’s body without causing any harm.
However, there are times when the item gets trapped in the throat. The signs of a child having an object stuck in their throat should be rather easy to identify. Dr. Saad says that some of the more common items in his experience that have gotten stuck as a child tried to swallow them were coins, peanuts, and hot dogs.
If a child is under the age of six and has an item caught in their throat, the parent should hold them upside down by their feet and pat their back. Most of the time the item will fall right out.
For children over the age of six, it is safe for the parent to perform the Heimlich maneuver. In the instances that the item remains stuck, the parent should immediately take the child to the emergency room.
Dr. Saad says that a common mistake that parents make is that they will often try to scoop the object out themselves with their finger. This could cause further complications and parents should refrain from this action
A doctor will perform an x-ray to determine the precise location of the stuck object. There are disadvantages to an x-ray. Half the objects that a child typically swallows will not show up very well on an x-ray.
A doctor will then proceed to perform an endoscopy if the x-ray shows up normal, but the patient’s symptoms persist. In his forty years as a pediatric surgeon, Dr. Saad has performed many endoscopies and he felt that he needed to make improvements on the endoscope.
Endoscopes fog up because of fluid build-up inside the human body. He created a special endoscope that allowed a doctor to clear the fog on an endoscope without stopping the procedure.
In his many years removing stuck objects from children, Dr. Saad believes that batteries are the most dangerous item. Many batteries are relatively small and easy for a child to swallow. Once a child swallows a battery, the acid may flow out of the battery and cause serious injuries to the child’s stomach or throat.
Dr. Saad also places peanuts at the top of his list of dangerous items a child can swallow. The liquid in the human lung can cause peanuts to expand and many doctors have difficulty removing peanuts from a Childs’ throat.