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Toddler Sick for Weeks, Ruins Esophagus after Swallowing Penny

The Short of It

A toddler girl with cerebral palsy is finally recovering at home after a penny she swallowed is removed from her esophagus.

The Lowdown

When I was little, my best friend's older brother poured some dry cat food into a bowl, told her it was cereal and then convinced her to eat it.

Kids and their pranks, right?

Take Crystal Claspell's 2-year-old son, who tried to feed his sister Aliya pennies last month. The toddler swallowed one, and then she suffered from bouts of vomiting a few days later that ultimately landed her in the emergency room with dehydration. She was released after four days with no diagnosis, even though she was still throwing up.

Was it related to the pennies? Claspell thought so. And so a few days later, she took the 3-year-old back to the hospital for more tests, making sure to tell them about the swallowed coin.

"They finally did an ultrasound of her belly, which showed nothing wrong with it," she told KFVS 12. "So they wanted to do an upper GI [series]. But because she wouldn't swallow the barium because she couldn't keep anything down, they couldn't do it."

Claspell says she felt helpless, scared, and frustrated, so she transferred her daughter to another hospital, where it was finally discovered—via chest X-ray—that a penny had gotten lodged in Aliya's esophagus and would have to be surgically removed.

"Because of the penny being lodged in there that whole time, it left narrowing of the esophagus [and] she might have to have another surgery to stretch it out," Claspell said. "It has messed up the lining, so she's now on inhalers and medication to help smooth out the esophagus."

Tucson News Now

The Upshot

Thanks to her mother's intuition, Aliya is now back home and recovering well, even though that penny had been stuck in her esophagus for weeks. Scary stuff! And just another example of why you should follow your gut instincts and seek a second, third or even fourth opinion when you just can't shake the feeling that something is wrong.

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