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By Kaitlyn Bolduc

PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) — A sick three-year-old in Portland, Oregon shocked doctors when they took an x-ray of her.

That’s because she had three-dozen magnets in her stomach!

Payton, like most kids her age, is insatiably curious, but her secret habit almost killed her.

She loves to experiment and when something looks like food, she eats it.

“I’m thinking that she kind of put two and two together and thought these looks like what we put on Christmas cookies,” said Kelli Bushnell, her mother.

But this time Payton’s probing case of curiosity almost cost her her own life.

“By taking the x-ray they saw that the circle had formed they thought she swallowed a bracelet,”  said Bushnell.

But that was just the beginning, as doctors would soon find out that bracelet didn’t always look like that —  in fact it got there one piece at time.

“The surgeon came out and said I wouldn’t do this unless I absolutely have to but we have to cut your daughter open,” explained Aaron Bushnell, Payton’s father.

It seems little Payton swallowed not just one, but 37 different Rare Earth Buckyball magnets.

“I had not read that any child had ever swallowed more than say, ten, so when I heard that 37 of these magnets had been swallowed, it frightened me to death,” said Sandy Nipper, a registered nurse at Randall Children’s Hospital.

The magnets were so strong they had already torn three holes in her lower intestine and one in her stomach.

“The intestine goes back and forth on top of each other you get two magnets in there, they snap together,” explained Nipper.

“They roll your daughter out and there’s just tubes sticking out of her, you don’t know how strong you are until that’s all you can be is strong,” said Aaron Bushnell.

But doctors were able to save Payton in time who’s now on her way to making a full recovery.

“If we had any idea what they could have done to her intestines, we would have never had them in our house,” said Kelli Bushnell.

And true to her inquisitive nature, Payton is already back to asking questions, including why she’s in the hospital in the first place.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission reports there have been 22 cases of children swallowing magnets since the year 2009.

Doctors say magnet ingestion may be misdiagnosed, so they urge parents to pay close attention and to any non-specific abdominal symptoms, such as pain, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.