Autopsies Reveal 104 Pieces of Plastic Found in 3-year-old Girl’s Stomach
Thomas Leavitt | May 1, 2021
A 3-year-old girl who was rushed to the Boca Raton Regional Hospital emergency room in Boca Raton, Florida, and died shortly after was found with 104 pieces of plastic in her stomach.
Officials on Tuesday shared a photo on Facebook of the fragments of plastic that cost her her life. The post has since gone viral.
Emily Mirowski, a nurse working in the emergency room at the time, examined the girl before she died.
"She was weak and emaciated. I could just tell she wasn't doing well," Mirowski told CNN.
After she died, autopsies revealed that the girl’s stomach was full of plastic, ranging from balloons to bottle labels.
"It was really heartbreaking," she said. "But it's something we've seen for several years and we're just glad people are finally seeing this image and hopefully it's raising awareness."
Children suffering from malnutrition due to plastic consumption are so common that the Boca Raton Regional Hospital created a special unit solely for rehabilitation and emergency care for plastic ingestion.
While some kids survive, many do not.
According to Mirowski, dozens of children who have entered the hospital have already died since the summer began. Every single one of those children had ingested plastic.
"The issue is that with all the plastic in households, that's where the plastic is most commonly found," Mirowski said." All the microplastics look like candies or foods to the young kids."
By the time the children are admitted into the hospital, they're weak and emaciated.
"We give them a small amount of fluids everyday to get them hydrated," Mirowski said. "Then we hope they'll pass the plastic naturally. The important thing is getting them hydrated to get their appetite back."
Mirowski says the problem won't end until people stop buying plastics and disposing of them improperly.
"We have to reduce plastic use as much as possible," she said. "Not just recycling, but eliminating plastic out of daily use. Every piece of plastic that's ever been made is still out there. it never goes away, it just breaks down to smaller pieces."