A mum has issued an urgent warning after her toddler nearly died after swallowing magnetic balls from a fidget toy.
Meliyah-Jayd, aged two, had 10 days of painful symptoms, including vomiting dark green liquid and screaming in agony.
Her mum, Jade Lee Berriman, who at the time did not know she had swallowed the beads, began to fear “in her gut” that “her little girl was leaving her.”
Following x-rays and scans, doctors discovered the 4mm balls had burned through the little girl’s bowel in four places, and had to remove a large part of the girl’s bowel to save her life.
But mum-of-three Jade – who says “someone must have been watching over” her little girl – is speaking out to warn others about the potential dangers of such toys, which she bought for her older children, reports the Hull Daily Mail.
When Meliyah-Jayd first started complaining about tummy ache on September 3, Jade did not initially think much of it – until her daughter stopped eating and began to “wail in pain”.
While an initial trip the doctor turned up the result that the two-year-old may have developed an allergic reaction to something.
However, a few days later, her condition deteriorated and by Sunday, September 10, she was sick and crying.
Jade explained: “I just knew something wasn’t right.
“Because she was being sick and couldn’t stomach anything, we couldn’t give doctors a urine sample. They told us she had tonsillitis, but her dad and I really questioned it.
“We kept saying she told us the pain was in her stomach and the throat inflammation was from being sick, but they were adamant with that diagnosis and discharged us. We tried giving her the penicillin they gave us, but she just kept screaming and couldn’t stomach it.”
The next day Meliyah-Jayd still wasn’t eating and a long afternoon nap sparked concern for her parents, and as her symptoms again worsened, Jade rushed her to an urgent treatment centre in Beverley.
The mum said: “They were absolutely amazing and got her in really quickly. Although her observations came back as normal again, the doctor really fought for her to be admitted [to Hull Royal] because of how pale and lethargic she was.
“We returned to hospital with a letter from the doctor and after about four hours, she was admitted to the Acorn ward [which cares for children and young people]. We spent a night there and the next morning, I collared a doctor and just begged him for help.”
Jade remembers crying and pleading with the doctor to help. She remembers saying: “She’s dying, I can feel her leaving me, there’s something you’re overlooking.”
An ultrasound scan was carried out and found a huge amount of fluid in her stomach, even though she had been sick and dehydrated for days. When removed through a tube in her nose, the fluid was a dark-green colour.
Jade explained how she bought the toy for her older children before Meliyah was even born, so didn’t think to throw them away. After the toddler was rushed into theatre for a four-hour operation, they discovered the balls had eaten away four holes in her bowels.
Jade said while she was “glad I trusted my gut and wouldn’t let it go”, she is also left feeling “guilty” for not having spotted her daughter eating the balls.
She added: “I am pleading to parents not to buy anything like this, even for much older children, because it is too easy for them to ingest it. A doctor said even 15-year-olds doing ‘piercing challenges’ on TikTok have accidentally swallowed these.
“I will be watching her like an absolute hawk from now on, even taking her to the toilet with me. We can adjust to her new needs and diet, but I could never adjust to not having my baby girl.”
A spokesperson for the Hull University Teaching Hospital NHS Trust, which runs Hull Royal, said: “We are very sorry to hear that the care Meliyah-Jayd received did not meet the expectations of her family.
“We currently have no record of the family contacting us via our PALS or complaints teams, but we would encourage them to do so in order that we can investigate appropriately. We are glad to hear that Meliyah-Jayd is recovering now and that she and her mother were happy with the care they received after she was admitted to hospital.”
Meliyah-Jayd will hopefully make a full recovery, but could potentially need a stoma, depending on her progress.