Toddler left with a hole in her oesophagus after swallowing a battery

Toddler left with a hole in her oesophagus after swallowing a battery

Mother whose daughter, 3, swallowed a car key battery as a baby reveals she still needs to be fed via tube after the accident left her with a hole in her oesophagus

  • Zineb Sadouk, 37, from Manchester, was left fearing for her toddler Sophia’s life
  • Sophia, age one at the time, managed to get a car key battery and swallow it
  • Sophia had a seven-hour surgery to repair a hole in her trachea and oesophagus
  • She was in a coma for weeks before having nine months of rehabilitative therapy
  • Now three, Sophia has had another surgery to put a feeding tube in her stomach

A woman whose daughter was left with a hole in her oesophagus after swallowing a battery which generated electricity inside her has issued a stark safety warning to parents. 

Zineb Sadouk, 37, from Gorton, Manchester, was left fearing for her daughter Sophia’s life after the tot somehow managed to get a car key battery from a tall shelf and swallow it.

Sophia, who was one at the time, battled heart failure and spent weeks in a coma after the accident before having a seven-hour surgery to repair a hole in her trachea and oesophagus.

Her mother said the last few years have been a ‘living nightmare’, with Sophia, now three, still experiencing complications.  

The youngster had another surgery this month to insert a peg feed tube into her stomach to provide her with nutrients and fluids.

Zineb Sadouk, 37, Gorton, Manchester, was left fearing for her daughter Sophia’s life (both pictured) after the tot managed to get a car key battery from a tall shelf and swallow it

Sophia, who was one at the time (above), battled heart failure and spent weeks in a coma before having a seven-hour surgery to repair a hole in her trachea and oesophagus

Zineb has shared her daughter’s story in a bid to warn other parents, admitting that she still has no idea how Sophia managed to swallow the battery. 

She explained: ‘I still don’t understand how this happened to my little girl.

‘I remember watching her in hospital, I never left her bedside and I was begging the doctors not to let her die.

‘Whenever I meet another parent I tell them Sophia’s story because I can’t bear the thought of another child going through this.

Sophia, now three (above), had another surgery this month to insert a peg feed tube directly into her stomach to provide her with nutrients and fluids


Sophia, age one (left) at the time, was rushed to hospital after refusing food but doctors only discovered a button battery was lodged in her oesophagus on X-rays a week later

‘We are so lucky that she is still here with us today but she has got such a long way to go before she can live a normal life again.’

Doctors thought Sophia had a virus or flu, but when she became breathless and blue, they ordered an X-ray which showed a small disc-shaped battery (above: similar battery) inside her

When one-year-old Sophia started vomiting and refusing food, mother-of-two Zineb and her husband Yahya, 52, rushed her to hospital.

But the worried parents didn’t discover what caused Sophia’s illness until a week later, when the X-rays revealed that a button battery had lodged in her oesophagus and trachea.

Sophia spent weeks in a coma and had a seven-hour surgery, before facing nine months of rehabilitative therapy. 

WHAT IS AN NG FEEDING TUBE AND A PEG FEEDING TUBE? 

NG feeding tube

A nasogastric tube (NG tube) is a special tube that carries food and medicine to the stomach through the nose. 

It can be used for all feedings or for giving a person extra calories. 

Peg feeding tube

A percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG) is a procedure to place a feeding tube through your skin and into your stomach to give you the nutrients and fluids you need.

Sources: Medline Plus and Ramsay Health 

Doctors initially thought Sophia was struggling with a virus or flu, but when she became breathless and blue, they ordered an emergency X-ray which showed the small disc-shaped battery inside her. 

Sophia’s heart was failing due to her internal injuries and she had to be stabilised at Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool before she could be transferred to Great Ormond Street in London for a seven-hour surgery to repair the hole in her trachea and oesophagus.

Zineb said she had found her daughter playing with Yahya’s wallet, which had been placed on a shelf ‘a metre taller than her’, but she had no idea she had swallowed anything.  

She continued: ‘She was playing on the floor and there was a button battery in plastic packaging in her dad’s wallet for the car keys, but the wallet was on a shelf a metre taller than her.

‘I found her playing with his wallet but I had no idea that she had swallowed anything until she started to fall ill.

‘At first she was refusing her food and then she started being sick and suffering with diarrhoea.

‘I kept taking her to A&E but they told me it was most likely just a bug and on the third time they discharged us with some antibiotics.

‘It was only when she was struggling to breathe that I went again and they ordered the x-ray and realised what had happened.’

The couple left their jobs as a trainee teacher and taxi driver to move to London and be by Sophia’s side while she underwent nine months of rehabilitative therapy at GOSH. 

Zineb had found Sophia playing with her husband Yahya’s wallet (pictured with Sophia), which was on a shelf ‘a metre taller than her’, but said she had no idea she had swallowed anything

Zineb (pictured with Sophia and Bahaar, one) has set up a fundraiser to raise £100,000 to pay off the family’s £30,000 debts and for the therapy Sophia desperately needs for a normal life

Zineb has shared her daughter’s story in a bid to warn other parents, admitting that she still has no idea how Sophia managed to swallow the battery

This month, Sophia had another surgery to remove her NG feeding tube, which carries food and medicine to the stomach through the nose, and replace it with a peg feed tube, which goes directly through the skin to the stomach.

After moving to London to support their daughter during her rehabilitation, Zineb and Yahyah becamse homeless and racked up £30,000 of debt. 

The couple are now back in Manchester in temporary accommodation with Sophia and her sister, Bahaar, one, but have set up a fundraiser in a bid to raise £100,000 to pay off their debts and for the therapy Sophia desperately needs for a normal life.

Zineb said: ‘I don’t even have the words to describe what it is like. The last three years have been a living nightmare.

‘She has been fed through a tube since she had the surgery and only this month we have started trying her on mashed foods, but she still finds it extremely hard to swallow.

‘We struggle with her behaviour because she has lost such a huge portion of her life and development while living in hospital.

‘We just want to give her the best chance at a normal life.’

To donate, visit gofundme.com/f/help-sophia-to-get-a-normal-life

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