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They appear harmless, but button batteries, often found in smaller electronics, can do extreme damage to the human body if they're swallowed. That’s what one Lubbock family learned after their 17 month old daughter swallowed one in November of 2020.

According to her family, the almost 2-year-old Little Reese Hamsmith swallowed a button battery back in early November that got lodged in her esophagus. In a Facebook group created to support Hamsmith, the family posted the initial story of exactly what happened on November 14th.

Hamsmith was first taken to a doctor after exhibiting symptoms of vomiting and gagging and was essentially diagnosed with Croup. It was only a day later that the family realized a button battery was missing from one of their electronics and Hamsmith was taken to the ER at UMC.

An X-Ray confirmed that the battery was stuck in Hamsmith’s esophagus and she underwent a successful surgery to remove it. She was allowed to return home 3 days later on a liquid diet but another doctor visit revealed a potential problem with her breathing.

Another trip to the ER revealed that the button battery had caused more damage than initially thought and had burned a hole through Hamsmith’s trachea. With her condition worsening, the decision was made to transfer her to Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston to undergo further treatment.

On December 1st, the family revealed on Facebook that a major surgery to repair damage caused by the battery had been successful, but that Hamsmith still had a long road to recovery. However, complications with her condition persisted and her family posted on December 17th that Hamsmith had passed away.

Throughout the ordeal, the Hamsmith family has had a Go Fund Me account to help pay for medical expenses. The goal for that account has now been expanded to help cover the costs for a celebration of life ceremony. As of this writing, the account has raised more than $45,000 of its $50,000 goal.

It can take only 15 to 30 minutes for a button battery to cause severe damage if swallowed, as the battery can react with saliva and create a chemical called caustic soda which can erode the lining of the throat and other tissues.