Brianna Florer went from playing with her siblings and opening Christmas presents at her grandparents' house Saturday to throwing up blood the next day—and by Sunday night, she was dead. The Oklahoma 2-year-old had been suffering a low-grade fever for a few days, but "on Saturday she was fine," her grandfather, Kent Vice, tells the Tulsa World. "It was a perfect Christmas." When she started throwing up blood and her skin started turning blue, Brianna's parents called an ambulance and she was rushed to the hospital and into surgery. But doctors couldn't stop the internal bleeding she was experiencing. The culprit? Though an official cause of death is still pending an autopsy, an X-ray showed Brianna had swallowed a button battery.
Vice says the family was told the toddler had probably ingested the battery sometime within six days of her death, and doctors "believed the battery (acid) ate through to her carotid artery by way of her esophagus." Just days before Brianna's death, a leading pediatric surgeon in the UK warned of the dangers of button batteries—small, shiny lithium batteries referred to as "buttons" because of their size and shape. "Parents need to be aware of the risk," Martin Elliott tells the Independent. "Children are going to get presents and presents are going to contain more button batteries. ... Don’t let [kids] fiddle with the battery compartment of toys." Vice agrees: "I want to keep these things out of houses," he says. "They are dangerous." A GoFundMe campaign has been set up for the family. (A Virginia baby died after his mom put him down for a nap.)