Amy Clarke and her 11-year-old son who remains in a critical condition
Amy Clarke and her 11-year-old son who remains in a critical condition

Mum warns of dangers of ‘tongue piercing’ TikTok trend after son swallows magnets

The 11-year-old boy is in a critical condition after two operations which resulted in five inches of his bowel being removed

Joanna Whitehead
Monday 24 May 2021 10:54
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A family has warned of the dangers of a potentially “deadly” trend they claim is rife on TikTok after their 11-year-old son swallowed several tiny magnets that resulted in him being hospitalised.

Ellis Tripp was left fighting for his life after ingesting five tiny magnetic balls, which were discovered by doctors in his bowel and intestines.

The boy was rushed to hospital last week after doctors suspected he was suffering from a burst appendix, but were shocked when their operating tools attached to the magnets in his stomach as they explored the source of his pain.

He was subsequently taken to Birmingham Children’s Hospital on Friday where he was admitted for surgery to have three of the balls removed.

On Saturday, he was forced to undergo a second six-hour operation to remove five inches of his bowel to remove the remaining two “Magneto balls”.

It is feared that Ellis, from Worcester, may have been attempting a TikTok trend in which young people pretend to have their tongue pierced.

Two magnetic balls are placed on either side of their tongue, which they then wiggle about, creating the illusion that their tongue is pierced.

The boy’s mother, Amy Clarke, shared a heartfelt plea to other parents on social media warning of the dangers involved.

Writing on Facebook, she began: “I’m in a nightmare. This TikTok craze could/would have killed him if left any longer. Please talk to your children and tell them how DANGEROUS THESE ARE.”

The family were unclear how Ellis came into contact with the balls as they stated that they do not have any in their home.

Sue Davies, the child’s grandmother, said surgeons revealed Ellis was the fifth youngster in a week they had treated for swallowing magnets.

She added that staff at her grandson’s school had found other children with the magnets in their possession.

Speaking on Sunday, she said: “He is seriously, seriously ill. Two major surgeries in just a few days isn't good for anybody, let alone a child. I am absolutely gutted, it's a very worrying time.

“It has been a truly horrific experience. We didn't think this could have ever happened to us, these tiny magnetic balls have cased such damage.

“They had to remove five inches of his bowel to get the remaining two magnets. They've also had to go through his intestines to get to them.”

Davies said that the next 24 hours would be crucial for her grandson. “We wouldn't have ever expected this. He's gone from being a happy, healthy 11-year-old to being hooked up on wires and drips.

“He went in thinking it was appendicitis, which itself is a big thing, and he's ended up having major surgery,” she said.

In December 2020, parents were warned about the dangers of children swallowing small magnets when buying Christmas toys.

The Independent has approached Magneto Balls for comment.

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