Hospital doctors are used to treating patients of all ages who swallow or inhale a wide variety of foreign objects, from safety pins to toothbrushes.

Even so, pediatricians at Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya were astounded this week that a three-and-a-half-year-old girl had managed to push a button- sized electric battery into her genitalia, apparently while playing.

The mother, who lives with her family in the Galilee, noted that secretions were coming from the toddler’s vagina and that she began to suffer from fever, stomach pains and a worm infestation. She took her to her community health fund clinic and was told by her pediatrician that the girl apparently suffered from a viral infection, which would pass in a few days. But when the problems continued, she took her to the Nahariya hospital’s emergency room.

“We didn’t have a clue what was wrong,” the mother said.

The child underwent numerous tests. Dr. Leah Even of the pediatrics department said that the vaginal secretions had the color of feces, and the odor raised suspicion that a hole had been formed between the vagina and the intestine as a result of trauma. Working with gynecologists, they examined her in the operating room and were shocked to see signs of an infection caused by a rusty battery – which they then removed – that the child had apparently inserted while playing and about which she had not told her parents.

Even said parents should always be on alert, and if children suddenly show changed behavior along with fever, diarrhea, vomiting or stomach pains, they should go immediately for medical consultation.

These symptoms could be caused by foreign objects in the body and lead to a severe infection, especially in young children, she added.

“I don’t know where the battery came from or how long it was inside, but I thank the hospital staff for their speedy diagnosis and action that prevented irreversible damage,” the mother said.

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