Children can accidentally drink from bottles containing potentially fatal chemicals at home, doctors have warned.
Dang Hoang Son, head of the HCM City-based Pediatrics Hospital 1's otorhinolaryngology ward described a 4-year-old girl who suffered from acute atrophy of the oesophagus after drinking a lye water bottle.
The patient was moved from the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta province of Dong Thap, 160km from the city, to the hospital at midnight. Her grandmother told the doctor that the little girl was thirsty after playing, so she drank a whole bottle containing lye water (a white liquid like boiled water) on the kitchen stand.
"Her injuries make it difficult to eat," the doctor said. Doctor Son said the hospital doctors treated about 15-20 cases of oesophagus injuries every year.
Vietnamese people tend to re-use water bottles that contained washing liquid, acid or chemical substances. Children can easily drink these liquids if adults place them within reach of children, the doctor has said.
The Pediatrics Hospital 1 has received two child patients who gulped wrist-watch electronic battery acid. They fortunately survived as their parents took them to the hospital quickly.
Son said chemical burns were divided into two levels. Level 1: external burns on the lips and mouth. Level 2: gastric mucous membrane and oesophagus injuries.
The treatment for level 1-burned patients is to take counter-irritant and gastric medicines.
But treatment for level 2-patients is difficult and takes a long time (around one year). "It is a costly treatment. Every month the patient has to be hospitalized for specialist training."
Doctor Son warned if children drank acid or alkali liquid or at home, they should drink water as soon as possible. Parents should then take their child and the chemical bottle to hospital immediately.
Every year, pediatric hospitals in HCM City receive a considerable number of patients who have drunk chemical bottles.