3-year-old Valley boy takes first sip after 2 years of surgery for swallowing battery

PHOENIX - After two years of surgeries, a Valley 3-year-old is finally able to do what most of us take for granted -- swallow.

Two years ago Emmett Rausch swallowed a lithium battery from a DVD remote, which burned a hole in his esophagus and his airway. The damage led to chronic lung disease, and he now uses a trachea to breathe.

"For years we've told him not to put anything in his mouth, or he's associated swallowing with pain," said Emmett's mom Karla.

Over the past two years he's undergone 40 surgeries, including the replacement of his esophagus.

On Tuesday, doctors at Phoenix Children's Hospital were able to see the benefits of all the hours Emmett spent on the operating table. Using an X-ray, they were able to capture Emmett swallowing a number of liquids for the first time since the incident.

"It was truly amazing to see. Even though it was just a little bit of liquid, I never imagined he would be with me here today so I'm just so humbled to see his progress and to be his mommy," said Karla.

Emmett swallowed a liquid similar to juice and tried a food similar to the consistency of pudding.

Doctors said Emmett's progress will be a gradual one but they are hopeful he will be able to eat solid foods in the future.

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