A family has issued a stark warning of the dangers of a ‘deadly’ new TikTok trend after their son was left fighting for his life when he swallowed several magnets.
Ellis Tripp remains hooked up to tubes and wires in a critical condition in hospital after swallowing five tiny magnetic balls, which were discovered in his intestines and bowel.
The 11-year-old, who had been poorly for a week with stomach pains, was rushed into surgery on Wednesday when doctors thought he might have been suffering from a burst appendix.
But they were shocked to discover his appendix was fine – and then a magnet attached to their operating tools while they probed the cause of his pain.
He was taken to Birmingham Children’s hospital on Friday, where he underwent two major surgeries and had five inches of his bowel removed.
Doctors said he was the fifth youngster in just one week they have treated for swallowing magnets, reports his family.
And Ellis’s school found other pupils with the magnets in their possession during a search.
It is feared Ellis, of Worcester, may have been performing a dangerous TikTok craze that sees youngsters pretend to have their tongue pierced.
During the prank, people place two magnetic balls either side of their tongue and wiggle it around, creating an optical illusion that their piercing is stationary.
Mum Amy Clarke, 31, who has been by her son’s side in hospital ever since, posted a heartfelt plea urging other parents to get rid of the balls.
She posted on Facebook: “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.
“Magneto Beads are deadly if swallowed. They even have them in educational/childcare settings for children to play with. Destroy them.!!!!!”
It is not clear how Ellis managed to swallow the balls as his family say they do not have any in the house and the schoolboy does not have TikTok.
Sue, 50, said Ellis was today “hooked up tubes and wires” as his body tries to fight the infection caused by his bowel leaking.
She added: “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 caused such damage.
“Ellis went into theatre yesterday at 3pm and came back to the ward at 9pm. 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.
“We don’t know where he got them from. His headteacher did a search and they found a lot of kids with them at school.”
Sue said Ellis was facing a fight for his life.
She added: “The next 24 hours are going to be crucial. It’s all about how his body fights this infection now after his bowel burst.
“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.
“His mum hasn’t left his side since Wednesday, she can’t.
“He went in thinking it was appendicitis, which itself is a big thing, and he’s ended up having major surgery.”