Here Kristin Stanton, 31, tells the story in her own words.
‘What’s in your mouth?’ I asked my two-year-old son, Matix.
I’d turned my back for a second to talk to his brother, Bailey, 10, but it looked like my toddler had gotten in to mischief.
‘I ate it all!’ he giggled, clapping his hand to his mouth.
‘What is it? Spit it out!’ I said.
That’s when Bailey spotted something.
‘I think he swallowed my shell,’ he said.
He’d brought one back from the creek that morning.
‘I can’t find it,’ he said.
‘A shell?’ I exclaimed.
Matix seemed fine, but I whisked him straight to hospital just in case.
An X-ray showed Bailey was right.
‘We’ve located the shell, and it’s large,’ a surgeon said. ‘It measures 3.9cm long and 0.8mm wide. And it’s sitting long ways at the entrance to his stomach.’
I was stunned.
‘We’ll monitor him overnight and surgically retrieve it tomorrow via his throat,’ he added.
But the next morning, plans had changed.
Now, the surgeon was worried the shell’s sharp ends could perforate my boy’s organs if it moved during surgery.
‘So what’s the alternative?’ I asked.
‘Give him Coke to drink,’ he replied.
‘Coke?’ I said, horrified.
My hubby Dean, 31, and I never gave Matix soft drinks.
‘The acids in it should dissolve the shell a little,’ the surgeon explained.
In addition, the bubbles produced when dissolving carbon dioxide might help disintegrate it.
The idea was that Matix would pass the remains of the shell, or the Coke would erode the sharp edges and make it safe to operate.
‘If he starts to vomit, complains of pain, or if there’s any unexplained bleeding, bring him straight back,’ he added.
Doctors had an unusual prescription for Matix
Kristin Stanton, 31, Norman Gardens, Qld
Matix was given breakfast to make sure food was getting past the shell.
Then, we went home, picking up some Coke on the way.
Pouring him a glass, I felt terrible for giving him the sugary drink.
‘Drink this medicine darling,’ I said.
‘Okay, Mummy,’ he said, downing it.
‘Mmm,’ he said, thinking it was the best medicine he’d ever had.
Telling my friend, Nat, 45, she said she knew someone who’d been told to dissolve some meat stuck in his throat by drinking Coke.
‘The paramedics said warm Coke works best,’ she said.
It’s because carbon dioxide is less soluble in warmer liquids so the bubbles come out faster.
After that, I started giving Matix room-temperature Coke – 100ml, three times a day.
High on sugar, he became pretty hyperactive!
A week later, we returned to hospital for another X-ray.
‘The shell’s gone,’ smiled the doctor. ‘The Coke’s completely dissolved it.’
‘That’s wonderful!’ I breathed, giving Matix a big hug.
I’m so relieved that Matix’s bizarre cure saved him from surgery.
Now, he knows not to put anything in his mouth that’s not food!