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Thursday, 13 January, 2000, 12:58 GMT
Mother's fears over iron tablets

Tablets Ben swallowed a number of tablets

A mother whose two-year-old son nearly died from an overdose of iron tablets is calling for parents to be made more aware of the dangers posed by the supplement.

Ben Kelly's liver and kidneys began to fail and his brain became swollen after he swallowed 15 tablets.

He was taken to Raigmore Hospital in Inverness and was then flown to the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Edinburgh for specialist treatment.

It was like every mother's nightmare when I found him with the open bottle of pills in his hand
Karen Kelly
His parents Karen, 36, and Ian Kelly, 38, of Farr, near Inverness had him christened as he lay in critically ill in hospital.

But to medical staff and his parents' amazement, Ben has made an incredible recovery and is now being dubbed "Miracle Boy".

Ben took the tablets on 22 December, while his mother was out of the room changing her four-month-old daughter's nappy.

Salted water 'saved life'

He is thought to have climbed on a chair, then onto the work surface and reached up to snatch a "child-proof" bottle of 180 tablets from the top of a kitchen unit

Karen said: "It was like every mother's nightmare when I found him with the open bottle of pills in his hand."

Medicine bottle He climbed up and grabbed a bottle
She gave her son salted water to make him sick, which doctors said probably saved his life.

An X-ray examination showed at least five tablets and a mass which was probably more pills in his stomach.

His condition in Edinburgh improved considerably and last week he was allowed to return to Raigmore Hospital for treatment closer to home.

"He called me 'mummy' for the first time since his trauma and my heart jumped," said Karen.

'Corrosive substance'

"Then he started to talk about the Teletubbies and even managed a few short steps. It was a fantastic sight."

A spokesman for Highland Health Board said iron was an extremely corrosive substance and could lead to bleeding from the child's stomach and bowel, poor circulation and affect the working of the brain.

Jack MacDonald, consultant paediatrician at Raigmore, said: "Ben was one of the worst , if not the worst, case of iron poisoning I have seen."

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