Schoolboy nearly died after swallowing magnetic tongue studs designed to look like a piercing
Magnets are designed to sit on either side of the tongue to hold stud in place
Michael Delaney needed surgery after accidentally swallowing them
Magnets ripped through his intestines and acid damaged his bowelTeenager was four hours from death when he had life-saving surgery

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UPDATED:

12:22 GMT, 10 December 2012

Michael Delaney was forced to undergo major surgery after swallowing his magnetic tongue studs

Michael Delaney was forced to undergo major surgery after swallowing his magnetic tongue studs

A schoolboy nearly died after swallowing magnetic tongue studs designed to look like a piercing.

Michael Delaney, 15, needed life-saving surgery after becoming a victim of the latest fashion craze sweeping Britain.

The powerful magnets – which look like ball-bearings – are designed to sit on either side of the tongue with the magnetic connection between the two studs holding them in place.

But after swallowing the tiny metal balls on a bus journey, they ripped through his intestines and acid from the metal also caused serious damage to his bowel. His injuries could result in lifelong problems.

Michael was one of four pupils at St Matthew's RC High School in Moston, Greater Manchester, admitted to hospital after swallowing the products.

The magnets are said to be capable of tearing holes in organs or intestines as the magnetic force pulls them together.

Teenagers across the country are now being warned of the dangers of the potentially-fatal fashion craze.

Michael initially attended North Manchester General Hospital complaining of a stomach upset two weeks after swallowing the tiny magnets

Surgeons had to cut into his bowel in three places to retrieve the accessories and later told him he had been just four hours away from losing his life.

After discovering what had caused the horrific internal damage, the school urged any other pupils who had swallowed the ball bearings to go straight to hospital – and circulated a warning letter to parents and other schools

Three girls aged between 13 and 16 were also admitted to hospital as a precaution but were given the all-clear by doctors.

Magnetic tongue studs

Surgeons at North Manchester General Hospital had to cut into his bowel in three places to retrieve the magnetic studs

The magnets are designed to sit on either side of the tongue. Right: Surgeons at North Manchester General Hospital had to cut into Michael's bowel in three places to retrieve the magnetic studs

Now Michael has sent out a warning to other youngsters experimenting with the fake piercings.

He said: 'It was a really frightening experience. I couldn't walk, talk or even move and the thought that I could be dead if I hadn't gone into hospital is really scary.

'They couldn't figure out what was wrong with me and found the studs when they put a camera inside me and the magnets stuck to the camera.

'I just had a really intense stomach ache but it never occurred to me that it might have been the studs. I'd swallowed them two weeks before but just thought they'd pass through.

'I thought they were safe but now I know how serious magnets can be and I'd say to anyone who uses these studs that you're putting yourself in real danger by putting them in your mouth.'

Michael spent almost a week in hospital after being admitted last Monday with suspected appendicitis.

He now faces an agonising four-week wait to find out if damage sustained to his bowel will be permanent.

A CT scan of Colorado schoolgirl Lauren Garcia clearly shows the magnetic balls, which stuck to her small intestine and began burrowing through it

A CT scan of Colorado schoolgirl Lauren Garcia clearly shows the magnetic balls, which stuck to her small intestine and began burrowing through it

His father, also called Michael, said: 'Michael's a 15-year-old lad but if he'd been a seven or eight-year-old it could have killed him. It's really important that people are made aware of the dangers.'

It is believed the studs had been distributed around the school by a pupil who had bought them on holiday. The packaging defined the product as 'facial studs' and showed a cartoon picture of a
boy wearing the accessory on his tongue.

The fashion accessories have previously been flagged up as a potential health risk in the US following similar cases.

Last year, Colorado schoolgirl Lauren Garcia, 13, required life-saving surgery after magnetic studs burned several holes in her intestines.

And in January, two-year-old Jericho Monteith, from Nevada, needed nine inches of intestine removed after magnets burrowed their way through his system.