"We went to Toys R Us," Divricean said. "They just had some that were too big."
A few more toy stores later, not finding what they needed, they realized kiddie magnets weren't going to cut it. Divricean searched the Internet and bought industrial-strength magnets from an online company.
The couple then made an appointment for Patrick's procedure.
The procedure: 'It made sense'
At the hospital, Patrick went back under the X-ray machine. Scaife, along with a radiologist who was helping him, could see the blockage.
What they were about to do next was an experiment. The magnets they wanted to place inside Patrick weren't approved by the Food and Drug Administration as a medical device, and Scaife knew of no one who had performed the procedure.
"Innovation, even with simple magnets and a pretty simple kind of procedure, is not easy. It's tricky, so you have to proceed cautiously, even when the parents are saying, 'Yeah I'd like to do that. It sounds better,'" said Art Caplan, a bioethicist at New York University's School of Medicine.
"If you're doing unapproved experiments, or something novel, the risk is enormous, especially with a child."
Scaife had consulted his colleagues and determined that if the magnets slipped and somehow created a hole in Patrick's intestines, he would be forced to do the operation he was trying to avoid. Otherwise, he didn't see a downside to the procedure.
"This certainly did not go through, sort of, formal medical channels," Scaife said. "But there was very clearly, I think, an informed consent ... it made sense to them, it made sense to me, and I think with that kind of clear understanding we proceeded."
Scaife and the radiologist maneuvered the magnets into position.
"We just dropped the magnets in like coins into a slot, and they immediately clicked together," he said.
Over the next few days the force of the magnets applied pressure to both sides of the membrane, pinching it and draining it of blood until it weakened and broke.
The magnets had made the hole that Scaife was expecting. They were still connected a week later when Scaife took them out. Sandwiched between them was a wafer-thin disc of membrane tissue.
"We couldn't believe that that really worked," Divricean said. "It was just something really amazing."
After the procedure, Divricean took Patrick into her arms. Holding him, she knew he was spared a complicated, invasive surgery.
"It worked out well -- really well -- for him," Scaife said.
The procedure was covered by insurance, Divricean said.
In December 2009, nearly six months after Patrick was born, he had a bowel movement in a diaper for the first time.
"We took pictures of the diaper," Divricean said, laughing. "We thought we were crazy doing that, but we were so excited."