A nine-year-old boy nearly died after swallowing small magnets as part of a TikTok challenge, his mother has revealed.
Jack McGeoch was taken to hospital last Tuesday after suffering severe abdominal pain and vomiting at his home in Borestone, Stirling.
His mother Carolann said an ultrasound showed that “something was blocking his bowels,” with Jack later admitting that he had swallowed magnets.
The boy had to be blue lit to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow on Wednesday and had emergency surgery on Thursday morning.
Mrs. McGeoch was told her son could die from the devastating impact of the magnets sticking together through the intestinal wall.
She said, “It was explained to me that the damage these magnets can do can be so extreme that he might not get through.
Jack McGeoch (pictured), nine, was taken to hospital on Tuesday after experiencing severe abdominal pain and vomiting at his home in Borestone, Stirling, last Tuesday.
“Through tears, I then had to sign my consent for the operation and acknowledge that ‘anything could happen’.”
Jack swallowed some small Magneto balls as part of a TikTok challenge, his mother claimed.
It is unknown what the challenge was, but there are currently a number of videos on the short video app showing teens putting the balls in their mouths to create the illusion of tongue and lip piercings.
The boy had to be blue lit to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow on Wednesday and had emergency surgery on Thursday morning. In the picture, Jack in his hospital bed
Revealed: The dangers of swallowing magnets – and why the NHS wants to ban them
A potentially life-threatening trend on social media involving tiny magnets that can be easily swallowed led the NHS to call for a ban in May.
These tiny magnetic balls are widely sold as creative toys, with a recent TikTok craze showing them being used by teens as fake facial piercings.
In the viral prank, people place two magnetic balls on either side of their tongues and wiggle them, creating the illusion that their piercing is real.
NHS bosses have issued a patient safety warning after at least 65 children were hospitalized for urgent surgery in the past three years after swallowing magnets.
The magnetic objects are compressed in the gut or intestines, compressing the tissue so that the blood supply is cut off.
Taking more than one can be life-threatening and cause significant damage within hours.
England’s top pediatrician, Professor Simon Kenny, wants the magnets banned altogether to prevent further incidents.
They are much more complex than button batteries to take out.
The child will require emergency surgery and, depending on the severity of the injuries, they may need multiple surgeries, bowel resections, and time in the pediatric intensive care unit.
Source: Child accident prevents trust
During a four-hour operation, the “funny, outgoing, healthy” cecum, small intestine and 12 inches (30 cm) of his nine-year-old colon were removed “all because of some crazy magnets,” his mother said.
Five days after surgery, Jack is still on fluids, can’t walk unaided and is “generally not the little boy he was a week ago,” Ms McGeoch said.
“The surgeons are fighting tooth and nail to ban these magnets because of the damage they can do.
“Jack is lucky he’s still alive, but if his experience can prevent other kids from going through the same thing, I’ll do everything I can to get the word out.
“There are videos on social media encouraging kids to do tricks with them, but what the videos don’t mention is that those little magnets can end up being deadly. Very easy.
“Jack’s life has changed forever, let’s not let others go through the same thing.”
Jack is not the first child to fall victim to the Tik Tok magnet challenge, with the NHS issuing a warning earlier this year to put magnets in your mouth.
In May, Ellis Tripp (11) was rushed to hospital after complaining of abdominal pain, before surgeons made the “horrifying discovery” that there were magnetic balls in his intestines and intestines.
His grandmother told Worchester News: ‘Even though he’s home now, he’s a different kid. He has lost a lot of weight. He has gone from a bubbly, happy boy to quiet and subdued.’
Faye Elizabeth, from Rainhill, previously revealed that her 13-year-old daughter had to have her appendix and part of her bowel removed after she copied a video mimicking a tongue piercing she saw on TikTok.
Surgeons removed 15 magnetic beads from the young girl’s internal organs.
Professor Simon Kenny, Pediatric Surgeon and National Clinical Director for Children and Young People at NHS England, said: ‘Magnets are a source of fascination for children, and magnetic toys can look like a cheap and cheerful way to keep the kids entertained, but in the end they are not safe and should not be for sale.
Jack swallowed some small Magneto balls (pictured) as part of a TikTok challenge, his mother claimed
“There’s nothing fun for kids or their parents about surgery to remove magnets that have been swallowed and stuck together through different parts of the gut, or the long-term physical problems and internal scars that can be left behind.”
“I urge parents to be aware of the dangers of magnetic toys, but ultimately we can only prevent future incidents by preventing these items from being sold altogether.”
MailOnline has reached out to TikTok and NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde for comment.