The Bangamba Family Story

As a mother of three, having the knowledge of how to properly feed one of my children through a G-Tube was unimaginable, but it became my reality without any warning.

It all started off as any other day at home due to widespread COVID-19 lockdown measures. I was loading the dishwasher after lunch while my then 18-month old daughter Amélie was chasing her brothers around the house. A few minutes later, everything changed for us.

She popped into the kitchen where I was working and then suddenly collapsed on the floor. I ran over to investigate what was going on. As I frantically picked her up, her eyes rolled back and blood began pouring from her nose.

Terrified and unsure what was wrong, we rushed her by ambulance to the local emergency room in our hometown of Red Deer, Alberta. An x-ray revealed that Amélie had swallowed a small foreign object, later identified as a lithium coin battery.

How or where my daughter found this battery, I still do not know. However, the events that followed after this accidental ingestion were life altering.

Amélie was then transferred by ambulance to the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton, nearly two hours away. Upon arrival, she went into cardiac arrest twice before undergoing emergency heart surgery.

The battery, having mixed with saliva, had ruptured Amélie’s esophagus, trachea, aorta, and carotid left artery. The injuries had caused Amélie to suffer a stroke on the left side of her brain and subdural bleeding on the right side of her brain.

My angel is a fighter, and despite a grim outlook, she survived! She spent over a month at the Stollery Children’s Hospital, between intensive care units, medications to prevent clotting and rehab. The stroke had paralyzed the right side of her body, so Amélie needed to relearn how to walk, move her whole body and to swallow safely, including being fed through a G-Tube.

When people look at photos of our family they often think everything has returned to our perfect life, but how it looks on the outside does not always reflect what happens behind closed doors.

baby

baby

For those unfamiliar, as I was at the time, the G-Tube (gastrointestinal tube) provides a direct connection to the stomach bypassing the need for chewing and swallowing. Today, Amélie is fed primarily this way. Since her initial discharge, she has had three surgeries to dilate her esophagus in the hopes that she will regain her swallowing capabilities.

A very mundane regular day can flip your life upside down. As a parent, I am now even more aware of the possible hazards in my own home. As I already mentioned, I do not know when or how Amélie got a hold of a lithium coin battery – did it drop out of a device in our home, was the small battery inadvertently left somewhere unattended – it’s so unsettling. I learned first-hand the importance of knowing which devices in our home take lithium coin batteries and to regularly inspect the items and to secure the battery compartments.

I can’t stress enough how critical it is to keep lithium coin batteries out of reach from our little ones and that includes locking away spare coin batteries and safely disposing of used batteries. I do what I can every day to raise awareness so that other families can avoid similar incidents and make our homes a safer place.

Soto family photo

The Soto Story

Marisa Soto and her family have teamed up with Duracell, to bravely tell their heart-wrenching story and to introduce Duracell’s new child safety campaign – Power Safely.

See their full story

Secure these areas

Power Safely at Home

Lithium coin batteries can be a hazard for small children. If swallowed, a lithium coin battery can get lodged in a child’s esophagus and cause serious harm in as little as two hours.

Learn how to secure your home

Duracell Lithium Battery

Lithium Coin Battery Products

Lithium 2032 1 Pack

CR 2032

Duracell has a tradition of investing in extensive development in features that can help keep children safe, specifically for its lithium coin batteries.

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Lithium 2025 1 Pack

CR 2025

Duracell has a tradition of investing in extensive development in features that can help keep children safe, specifically for its lithium coin batteries.

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Lithium 2016 1 Pack

CR 2016

Duracell has a tradition of investing in extensive development in features that can help keep children safe, specifically for its lithium coin batteries.

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