A nine-year-old boy almost died after swallowing tiny magnets as part of a TikTok challenge, his mother has revealed.
Jack McGeoch was taken to hospital after experiencing severe abdominal pain and vomiting at his home in Borestone, Stirling, last Tuesday.
His mother, Carolann, said an ultrasound scan found ‘something was blocking his bowel’, with Jack later admitting he had swallowed magnets.
The youngster had to be blue-lighted to the Royal Hospital for Children in Glasgow on Wednesday and by Thursday morning he needed emergency surgery.
Ms McGeoch was told her son might die because of the devastating impact of the magnets sticking together through the bowel wall.
She said: “It was explained to me that the damage these magnets can cause could be so extreme that he might not pull through.
“Through floods of tears, I then had to sign my permission to the operation and to acknowledge that anything could happen.”
Jack swallowed a number of small Magneto balls as part of a TikTok challenge, his mother claimed.
It is not known what the challenge was, but there are currently a number of videos on the short-video app showing teenagers putting the balls into their mouths to create the illusion of tongue and lip piercings.
During a four-hour operation the ‘funny, outgoing, healthy’ nine-year-old’s appendix, small bowel and 30cm of his large bowel were removed ‘all for the sake of some silly magnets,’ his mother said.
Five days after the surgery Jack is still solely on fluids, cannot walk unaided and is ‘all-round not the wee boy he was a week ago’, Ms McGeoch said.
“The surgeons are fighting tooth and nail to have these magnets banned for the damage they can do.
“Jack is lucky to be alive, but if his experience can prevent other kids from enduring the same, I will do everything I can to get the word out there.
“There are videos across social media encouraging kids to do tricks with these but what the videos fail to mention is that ultimately those tiny wee magnets could kill. Very easily.
“Jack’s life has changed forever, let’s stop others from having to go through the same.”
Jack is not the first child to fall victim to the Tik Tok magnet challenge, with the NHS putting out a warning against putting magnets in your mouth earlier this year.
In May, Ellis Tripp, 11, was rushed to hospital after complaining of stomach pains, before surgeons made the ‘horrific discovery’ magnetic balls were inside his intestines and bowel.