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Toddler swallows 37 magnets, survives

A 3-year-old girl was recovering Monday at Legacy Emanuel Hospital after doctors removed 37 'Buckyballs' magnets from her intestines.

Payton Bushnell complained to her parents of symptoms that resembled the flu, Legacy spokeswoman Maegan Vidal told KGW. Then, they took her in to get checked.

Doctors took an X-ray and found the balls, clustered in her stomach. She was expected to fully recover and was listed in good condition Monday morning. She has been in the hospital since Feb. 21.

The Oregon toddler was fortunate. In 2006 the government warned about risks from magnets used in toys after at least one child died and almost 19 were injured. As a result, the Consumer Product Safety Commission recalled almost 4 million Magnetix building sets and magnets were included in holiday warnings about dangerous toys. The risk occurs when a child swallows one or more small magnets, which can link together in the digestive tract and perforate the intestines.

Popular Buckyballs are made of powerful "rare earth" magnets -- similar to the recalled children's toys --  but are marketed as stress-relieving desk gadgets for adults. The Buckyballs company issued a statement at the top of its web page Monday morning:

"Buckyballs was saddened to learn that a 3-year old girl in Oregon had swallowed high-powered magnets but we are relieved that she is expected to make a full recovery. This unfortunate incident underscores the fact that Buckyballs and Buckycubes are for adults. They are not toys and are not intended for children. We urge all consumers to read and comply with the warnings we place on all our products, on our website and in stores. Please keep these products out of the hands and reach of all children."

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  • Slideshow Photos

    Courtesy of Mary Cappello

    'Swallow': A curious look at the ingestion of foreign bodies

    In her compelling new book, award-winning author Mary Cappello explores the story of Chevalier Jackson, a pioneering laryngologist who specialized in the extraction of swallowed items.

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    Down the hatch

    In “Swallow: Foreign Bodies, Their Ingestion, Inspiration, and the Curious Doctor Who Extracted Them,” award-winning author Mary Cappello sheds light on the curious practice of Dr. Chevalier Jackson, a pioneering laryngologist who specialized in the delicate, nonsurgical extraction of foreign bodies that were swallowed or inhaled. Decades later, the items Jackson and his colleagues managed to retrieve from the throats of their patients still have the power to astonish. How could anyone swallow these things?

    An X-ray of the case of E.R.S., age 4, a pair of toy opera glasses stuck in the esophagus. Radiologist, Dr. Willis F. Manges (1876-1936). From the Collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    Things swallowed or inhaled

    The cabinet of drawers containing the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection of things swallowed or inhaled, in Philadelphia's Mutter Museum. From the collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    A particularly appealing allure

    Photographer Rosamond Purcell's detail of some of the foreign bodies that have a particularly appealing allure -- including a "Perfect Attendance" pin, and another that reads "B-A-2-Way Looker says Care-Fu-Lee." © Rosamond Purcell, 2009.

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    Dr. Chevalier Jackson

    The intrepid Dr. Jackson, surrounded by framed displays of "intestinal foreign bodies" (swallowed objects).

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    Studying a foreign body

    The doctor examines one of his finds. Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292, Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    The tools for the task

    Part of an action exhibit mounted at Philadelphia's Franklin Institute in 1938 that featured a breathing mannequin complete with inserted bronchoscope through which museum goers could view and grasp with forceps and inspirated nail. Top to bottom: distal light, bronchoscope, forceps, foreign bodies. The Historical and Interpretive Collection of the Franklin Institute, Inc., Philadelphia, Pa.

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    A stuck collar button

    Chevalier Jackson chalk/pastel drawing of a collar button stuck in the esophagus. From the Collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    Extracting a thumb tack

    The problem of the thumb tack as illustrated and explained in Chevalier Jackson's "New Mechanical Problems in the Bronchoscopic Extraction of Foreign Bodies from the Lungs and Esophagus," Transactions of the American Laryngological, Rhinological, and Otolaryngological Socity, volume 27, 1921. Courtesy of Thomas Jefferson University, Archives and Special Collections.

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    The Bronchoscopic Rosary

    A chain of safety pins representative of the range of prototypes a person might swallow or inhale. Chevalier Jackson Papers, Archives Center, National Museum of American History, Behring Center, Smithsonian Institution.

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    Into the mouths of babes

    A baby's face, bronchoscopically framed, nibbles on a piece of toast, surrounded by a sea of all the possible bits of the object world she might, if un-checked, swallow or inhale. The cover for an article by Chevaliaer Jackson that appeared in Hygeia (December 1923), reprinted 1937, in the Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292, Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    How do you get a child to open her mouth?

    An excerpt from Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292, Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medecine Division, National Library of Medecine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    A daunting case

    An X-ray revealing case # 1071, which Jackson unsurprisingly described as his most difficult case.

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    Foreign bodies

    Panels of foreign bodies containing case #1071 from the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection in the Mutter Museum. © Rosamund W. Purcell, 2009.

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    From out of a single infant

    A display of multiple foreign bodies removed from the body of an infant, case #1173, drawer 133, of the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection. Collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    Mouthfuls of menace

    An elaborate array of safety pins and other objects retrieved by Dr. Jackson. Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292, Mondern Manuscripts Collections, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    Lived to tell

    As a 9-month-old, little Joseph B. swallowed a selection of safety pins. This photograph was sent to Dr. Jackson as both a thank-you note and evidence of the pioneering laryngologist's abilities. Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292, Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    Joseph B's predicament

    An X-ray of one of Dr. Jackson's patients. Radiographer, Dr. Willis F. Manges (1876-1936). From the Collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    "The Stomach Contents Display"

    One of the most talked-about items at the Glore Psychiatic Museum, this horrifying assortment of needles, pins, nails, buttons and other foreign objects was removed from a single patient. The St. Joseph Museums, Inc./Glore Psychiatric Museum, St. Joseph, Missouri.

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    Needles and pins

    A selection of pins and needless extracted from the body of a "young hysterical female" by Thomas Dent Mutter sometime in the late 1840s, mounted on isinglass. Collection of the Mutter Musem, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    For seeing down the throat

    An array of scopes from Jackson's instrumentarium with accompanying distal lights. Collection of the Mutter Museum, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia.

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    Say 'Ahhhhhhh'

    Dan Meyer, sword swallower par excellence and executive director of Sword Swallower's Association International, mid-act and in X-ray. Used by permission of Dan Meyer, Sword Swallowers Association International (SSAI).

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    Grasping a button

    Solving the mechanical problems associated with retrieval of collar buttons in the upper torso as it appears in Chevalier Jackson's "New Mechanical Problems in the Bronchoscopic Extraction of Foreign Bodies from the Lungs and Esophagus," Transactions of the American Laryngological, Rhinological, Otolaryngological Society 27 (1921). Courtesy of Thomas Jefferson University, Archives and Special Conditions.

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    The scourge of lye

    Children treated for ingestion of lye in the medical ampitheater of one of Jackson's clinics. Chevalier Jackson Papers, 1890-1964, MS C 292. Modern Manuscripts Collection, History of Medicine Division, National Library of Medicine, Bethesda, Maryland.

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    Another satisfied patient

    Margaret Derryberry about the age she was when she accidentally inhaled a hatpin, which Jackson removed from her bronchus. Margaret went in search of her pin in the Chevalier Jackson Foreign Body Collection in 2007, having suffered the accident when she was an 8-year-old in 1931. For years, Margaret's mother kept a subsitute pin in the lining of her purse, which she periodically brought out to show people what her daughter had survived. Photo courtesy of Margaret Derryberry and her daughter, Peggy Derryberry Gould.

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King5 contributed to this report

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