A button battery modified all the things. A shiny battery the dimensions of a dime invited tragedy into a house full of affection. It took the lifetime of 17-month-old Reese Elizabeth Hamsmith, referred to as ReRe to these closest to her. It put one mother on a mission to make sure no household ever has to undergo the way in which hers has.
A Misdiagnosis And A Missing Battery
In late October, Reese began wheezing. Her urge for food disappeared. Her mother and father took her to the pediatrician, who recognized her with croup. They didn’t know then that button battery ingestion is usually misdiagnosed as croup.
The subsequent day, Trista Hamsmith, Reese’s mom, observed a lacking button battery. As quickly as she realized it was lacking, they went to the emergency room. “We just needed to make sure it wasn’t there,” Trista advised Scary Mommy in a cellphone interview. “Unfortunately, it was.”
An X-ray confirmed the battery and Reese instantly had emergency surgical procedure to take away it.
Just a few days later, Reese was discharged from the hospital. She was placed on a liquid food plan and advised to come back again in 4 to 6 weeks. “I remember going to the store to buy anything and everything liquid. She was a good eater and loved to eat. We were concerned how that would look and we’d eat in different area of home so she didn’t see us eating,” Trista recalled.
Reese’s liquid food plan turned out to be the least of the household’s worries. Within days, Trista returned to the emergency room with Reese on the recommendation of the surgeon, who was fearful that the battery had created a gap. Another CT scan confirmed the presence of a fistula.
“There was a hole burned through her trachea and through her esophagus. When that tunnel formed, it was allowing air to go where it didn’t need to be. Food and drinks also went where they didn’t need to go,” Trista advised TODAY Parents in a separate interview.
Finding the fistula was solely the start. What adopted was extra surgical procedures, a switch to an even bigger hospital in Houston, a staff of medical doctors, and a profitable surgical procedure. Unfortunately, it wasn’t sufficient.
Reese’s situation continued to say no. She coded. The medical doctors tried to avoid wasting her, however they couldn’t get her again. She died on December 17, 2020.
Trista’s reminiscences develop into blurry then, apart from a single second. “I remember holding her. I hadn’t gotten to hold her.”
Button Battery Ingestions Are Common But Awareness Is Lacking
Button batteries are small, spherical batteries which might be present in quite a few widespread home goods, together with distant controls, video games, toilet scales, and musical greeting playing cards.
According to Trista, roughly 3,200 button battery ingestions are reported every year, however she believes that quantity is far increased. “Only 11 percent [of ingestions] are reported, which means it’s probably closer to 30,000 per year.”
Button battery ingestions are additionally exhausting to diagnose. Healthychildren.org notes that kids can present no signs after ingesting a button battery. Often in the event that they do present signs, these signs appear like these of different infections—as was the case with Reese’s authentic croup misdiagnosis.
Though exhausting to diagnose, they’re harmful. It takes solely two hours for the button battery to trigger extreme tissue burns, which may lead to lifelong disabilities or dying. Trista urges all mother and father to instantly head to the emergency room if there’s even an opportunity of button battery ingestion.
Turning Tragedy Into Purpose
Trista knew “pretty early” that she was meant to talk out and advocate for kids’s security. Along with a fierce group of girls she affectionately calls “Reese’s warriors,” Trista has began a nonprofit referred to as Reese’s Purpose. The group’s intention is to boost consciousness amongst medical professions and fogeys, to financially assist households which might be within the trenches of button battery ingestion, and, most significantly, to vary laws to make sure no household has to lose a toddler to button battery ingestion once more. Among the modifications Reese’s Purpose is looking for is safe closures that may require using a secondary system to entry the battery compartment.
“I think about what Reese would have wanted. And that’s what drives me,” she stated.
Recently, June 12 was designated “Button Battery Awareness Day.” On that day (however actually every single day) everybody is inspired to do a “Button Battery Search and Clean Out” to verify their properties, to know the place the batteries are and to maintain them out of attain and out of sight of youngsters.
That’s only the start of what mother and father can do. Trista additionally urges mother and father to assist the laws. “When the day comes if this does go to Congress, call your local reps and ask them to support the bill. It could save your kids, your grandkids… That support will be crucial.”
A Spitfire From The Get-Go
According to Trista, “Reese was a spitfire from the get-go. We couldn’t wait to see what she’d do in this world because we had no doubt it would be something huge.”
There is little question that Reese’s dying is a tragedy past phrases. It’s a tragedy that occurs in a split-second and will occur to anybody. Even those that assume “that could never happen to me.” It takes solely a second and a battery the dimensions of a coin.