LONG BEACH, Calif. -- Most people don’t think much about pennies these days. But for one mother, a single penny was the difference between life and death for her young son.

Samantha Knox said a penny was stuck in her son’s throat for 37 days before doctors could figure out what was wrong with him, CBS Los Angeles reported.

She said her son, E.J., became listless and withdrawn in June, developed a fever of 103 and had a rash on his belly. According to Knox’s account, she took her son to a handful of pediatricians and urgent care visits, and they told her the boy had a viral infection -- something she said didn’t add up.

“It was heart-wrenching to watch my son completely suffer,” Knox recalled.

After more than a month, she took the boy to Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach, where doctors finally found out what was making him sick.

“When they gave me the news, I immediately started crying,” Knox said.

Doctors had to operate on the 8-month-old to get the penny out, which Knox said should have happened sooner if E.J.’s previous doctors had taken an X-ray.

“This very small object could’ve potentially been the worst outcome for my son,” Knox said.

She said she doesn’t know how the penny ended up in her son’s throat.