Family Sues After 3-Year-Old Eats 37 Magnets, Which Punched Holes In Her Organs

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A Washington couple says they never could have bought the magnets called “Buckyballs” if they realized what they could do to their 3-year-old daughter.

The balls and another product, Buckycubes, are made up of 216 rare earth magnets that are so powerful that they can fuse inside the body.

Aaron and Kelli Bushnell’s 3-year-old daughter Payton ate 37 of the magnets because they looked like “shiny candy,” according to the complaint.

As Payton’s body tried to digest the balls, they kept fusing inside her organs.

According to the complaint "the rare earth magnets snapped [the girl’s] intestines together, caused blockage, and punched holes in her stomach and intestine.”

“By taking the x-ray, they saw that the circle had formed,” Kelli said in 2012. “They thought she swallowed a bracelet.”

Payton underwent surgery to remove the balls, Courthouse News Service reported.

“If we had any idea what those magnets could have done to our daughter’s intestines, I would have never had them in our house,” she added.

The company that manufactures Buckyballs, Maxfield and Oberton, says the products were marketed to adults for adults.

“This unfortunate incident underscores the fact that Buckyballs and Buckycubes are for adults,” CEO Craig Zucker said in 2012. “They are not toys and are not intended for children. We urge all consumers to read and comply with the warnings we place on all our products, on our website and in stores. Please keep these products out of the hands and reach of all children.”

After 1,700 child injuries, the Consumer Product Safety Commission sued in 2012 to stop sales of the magnets, calling them a “substantial product hazard.”

The Bushnells reportedly believe that Zucker dissolved his company to avoid taking responsibility for the injuries.

In an Oct. 8 lawsuit filed in Clark County, Washington Superior Court, the Bushnells sued for product liability and personal injury.

Sources: Courthouse News Service, The Oregonian, Inquistr

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons/Masakazu Matsumoto, The Oregonian