Santiago Gomez Zuviria/Facebook

This Boy Who Inhaled a Whistle Is Probably Having a Worse Day Than You

Breathe out… squeak in…

MICHELLE STARR
4 OCT 2017
 

How's your day going so far? Whatever you have going on, you're probably not as fed up as this eight-year-old boy from Argentina who inhaled a piece of a pet toy. With every deep breath the boy takes in, the whistle makes a sad hooting sound.

 

A video of the unimpressed patient was filmed in the hospital waiting room and posted to Facebook by his doctor, Santiago Gomez Zuviria, to raise awareness of the hazards small swallowable objects pose to children.

"My only intention was to make my contacts aware of the risks to which the smallest children are exposed with the use of toys that should not be qualified for marketing," he wrote on a later Facebook post.

In a way, the boy was lucky - the item he inhaled allows for the passage of air, no matter how squeaky that passage is.

This is the reasoning behind pen caps that have holes in them - lots of people chew on pen caps, and if one gets stuck in your windpipe, you're much more likely to survive if there's holes for the air to flow through.

whistleSantiago Gomez Zuviria/Facebook

This is particularly important for children, who are apt to put many strange items in their mouths. According to the New York State Department of Health, more than 12,000 children are hospitalised every year for choking on food.

 

Swallowing objects is a problem too - coin batteries and magnets are particularly dangerous, the former because they can cause severe tissue burns, and the latter because if more than one magnet is swallowed, they can damage the intestine by attracting each other through the loops.

Holes don't guarantee safety, as seen in a tragic case from Odisha, India. A seven-year-old boy swallowed a whistle, and survived for 48 hours with it lodged in his larynx, but ultimately choked to death.

The big problem is that once something gets stuck down there, you can't just cough it up. Thankfully, the boy in Zuviria's clip only required a local anaesthetic to remove the tiny piece of plastic from his windpipe.

But the good news is that he's now expected to make a full recovery - with video proof for the cautionary tale he'll one day tell his kids.

 

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