Magnets Used to Save a Baby's Life? We've Got You "Pulled" In Now!
A twin baby boy born in 2009 was saved from major surgery by a creative procedure involving magnets that a surgeon suggested. Yes, a baby saved by magnets! And now a toddler, Patrick Divricean is doing well! Little Patrick Divricean, born prematurely and a twin, entered the world with an intestinal blockage and was unable to go "number two." And the way to fix the blockage problem was to have surgery on the little four-pound baby, yet Patrick was (of course) too small for the procedure.
So the baby boy was moved to a nearby hospital where physicians were able to divert his intestines (a temporary measure) into a colostomy bag. In the meantime, doctors and Patrick's parents, Nelly and Michael, needed to figure out how to remove the life-threatening blockage.
Magnets Save Baby from Big Procedure
Several months went by using the colostomy as a temporary fix until the parents brought baby Patrick back for a checkup. The results of the x-ray were not good. The films showed a hard, yet thin membrane that was blocking the baby's intestines, otherwise called rectal atresia, which happens in one in 5,000 newborns. And if not removed, Patrick could die.
The way to un-block the intestine was a difficult, highly invasive surgery that involved cutting the baby's stomach open and vertically cutting along the tailbone area. Once those incisions were made, the surgeon would cut away the blockage and re-attach the intestines. The danger of the surgery was that Patrick could develop scarring or hurt the nerves in the pelvis area, causing incontinence.
And so as both parents and surgeon discussed what to do, the parents asked the surgeon what he would do if Patrick was his son. Dr. Eric Scaife assured them he would think about other options and get back to them within a week.
Magnets Remove Intestinal Blockage
And a week later, Dr. Scaife had come up with an idea, although unconventional and not approved by the FDA for surgical reasons. Dr. Scaife suggested that instead of the surgery they try using two powerful magnets on either side of the blockage to remove it. The theory was that the attraction of the magnets would squash or bore through the blockage, opening up Patrick's colon so he could pass stools. Magnets have been used by surgeons to create drainage holes in the intestines and also straighten chests and lengthen the esophagus. Yet Dr. Scaife's idea was not a proven or tried one. But if his plan worked, the baby could forgo the surgery- therefore, using magnets to save a baby.
In order for the procedure to work, the doctors needed very strong magnets. So Patrick's parents shopped at such children's stores as Toys R Us, to name one. Either the magnets were too large or not strong enough. Finally all found what they needed from an online company.
Are Magnets Used in Medical Procedures?
The magnets were placed on either side of the blockage. Over the next day or two they continued to provide pressure and drained the membrane of blood, weakening and eventually breaking it. The result? No more blockage! Even when the surgeons removed the magnets, the membrane was still pinched between the two small magnets.
Six months after little Patrick was born, he had his first successful bowel movement. And Patrick's parents took a picture of the diaper in celebration. We can only wonder, will Patrick like all this media coverage when he is a teenager?