Jay Family Warns Of Button Battery Dangers After Toddler's Death

Monday, January 4th 2016, 11:37 pm

Many people don’t think twice about one household item, one that can be found in toys.

But the family of a 2-year-old Green Country girl will tell you button batteries can be deadly.

Little Brianna Florer died just a few days after Christmas. Doctors tell her family it's because she swallowed a battery the size of a nickel.

Her family said there weren't any warning signs until it was too late.

With little blonde curls and big, brown eyes, Brianna Florer had her grandpa, Kent Vice, wrapped around her finger from day one.

“We were there the night she was born,” he said. “I got to hold her that night.”

That was November 25, 2013, and the grip Brianna had on Vice's heart only grew from there.

He said, “She just had a smile that, I guarantee ya, could warm the coldest of hearts and make the worst troubles of the day go away.”

At 2 years old, she loved Frozen characters, Minnie Mouse, animals and pretending to drive.

Vice said Brianna was just learning to talk, but already had sass.

“It was amazing she had developed that kind of character at such a young age,” he said. “She was just constantly absorbing everything around her.”

Vice said Brianna didn't feel well on Christmas, but it was nothing out of the ordinary and she was back to her spirited self by the time she celebrated with him on the 26th. Brianna was the heartbeat of the holiday.

“Couldn't have been anything better about it; it was an excellent, perfect Christmas,” he said.

It wasn't until 10:30 Sunday night that Brianna’s symptoms showed up. Her mom called Vice to tell him his granddaughter was throwing up blood.

She was rushed to the Grove hospital, where an X-ray showed Brianna had swallowed a nickel-sized battery. She needed to get to Tulsa for surgery quickly. Because the weather was bad, the medical helicopters were grounded, so she had to be driven by ambulance.

“They did what they could. I feel that 100-percent with my heart,” Vice said about the medical teams.

Doctors told the family the battery had lodged in Brianna's esophagus and caused her to bleed badly.

She was in an operating room for two-and-a-half hours, but doctors couldn't stop the bleeding. Brianna died three days after Christmas.

“Never in my mind would it have entered that something like this could happen from one of those batteries or they wouldn't have been there. I assure you,” her grandpa said.

The family doesn't know where Brianna got the battery. They don't know when she swallowed it. Vice said Brianna wasn’t the type of toddler who put everything in her mouth.

“That was a real oddity about Brianna...this baby didn't stick things in her mouth, ever,” he said. “She liked candy, the only thing I can rationally enter in my mind is she thought it was a piece of candy.”

Doctors told the family Brianna could have swallowed the battery days before she got sick. Her grandpa said they were told the damage likely started instantly, but it can still take time for symptoms to show up.

“I had no idea of its potency,” he said. “I know not a single person in this world that I knew personally that knows these things had this type of capability of destruction they can cause.”

What the family does know is their sweet Brianna's life ended before it ever really began. They hope their loss will save others.

“Every person's got to make their own decision, but, at least, when they make that decision of having these in their house, they need to know what they can do,” Vice said. “I wouldn't wish what we just went through on any other, living human.”

Vice said Brianna’s story is reaching people on other continents who have been affected by the damage a button battery can cause.

“We've been contacted from families around the world - from the UK, from Australia, different countries. This happens,” he said. “It'd be my wish to just get them out of the houses period, but I don't think that would probably happen.”

He said his family would like for button batteries to be required to have a protective coating that would prevent the deadly outcome his granddaughter faced.

“We'd love to take it further, but I don't know that we've got the ability to have those kind of contacts,” Vice said. “I would hope that it would get enough attention and the right support that, at least, it's thoroughly looked at to see what's happening.”

The National Capital Poison Center said 15 children younger than 6 years old died from swallowing a button battery between 2005 and 2014. In that same time period, 101 children were seriously injured after ingesting a button battery.

Friends of the family have set up an online fundraising account to help support Brianna’s family.


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