The Fiore family was just enjoying a beautiful summer night as a family. The family decides to fire up the grill and enjoy some delicious burgers for dinner. Unfortunately, before they knew it, things took a very serious turn for the worse. Little 6-year-old Anthony Fiore took one bit of his burger and immediately fell ill. Anthony was rushed to the hospital where doctors discovered he had swallowed a tiny metal wire bristle from a barbecue grill cleaning brush. “It felt like a needle,” the young boy told the Canadian Broadcasting Situation.
Knew Something Was Wrong
Anthony’s mother, Nadia said, “We knew something was wrong and he was in extreme pain because he was crying. From the time we had dinner to the time we had surgery, it was about 12 hours later, because our journey started at the local hospital, and then we were transported to SickKids.”
Doctors Try To Figure It Out
Doctors don’t exactly have a surefire way of removing the thing wires from people’s throats when swallowed. However, fortunately, the surgeons at SickKids were able to dislodge the small wire from his throat.
Doctor’s Try To Prevent an Infection
After removing the small wire bristle from young Anthony’s throat, the doctors had to make sure Anthony didn’t develop a throat infection from the bacteria that had been on the bristle. According to the surgeons, they have encountered lots of patients who need these bristles removed from their throats, a situation which has the potential to be fatal.
The Doctor Explains
Dr. Aziz Benbrahim discusses the dangers of these small bristles being stuck in someone’s body. “It makes a hole in the intestine and that could be life-threatening. We had a patient who had it in there for 2 weeks and he had severe complications and bigger surgery.”
The Vice-President Responds
Duff Dixon, the vice-president of development at Barbecue World says you should replace your brushes as soon as they appear matted and use a brush with wires that are fastened around a metal backing rather than wooden or plastic brushes, as those may be less secure. Dixon says, “These stories have been happening as long as the brushes have been around.
CBC News reported on a Halifax woman who had a bristle lodged so far down her throat, surgeons couldn’t reach it. It’s still there. A first look at X-rays of Anthony showed a tiny bristle from the brush stuck inside his throat. Doctors told his mother they had seen this phenomenon before and urged her to ditch the brush entirely.
An Alternative Method
An even safer method is to avoid using these brushes all together. Another alternative method for cleaning your grill is lighting it and letting it sit with the lid closed. This will loosen the all the gunk within the barbecue. It’s also recommended to use a scrunched up piece of aluminum foil to scrub it away.
The Brushes Breakdown
Old, worn out wire brushes will eventually start to lose their bristles. When they do, the bristles can stick to the grill where they can be easily missed since they are so small. They will then stick to the food, and if ingested, can cause injuries in the mouth, throat or tonsils.
The Hard Facts
A study done by the University of Missouri School of Medicine identified close to 1,700 injuries from wire-bristle grill brushes reported in U.S. emergency rooms since 2002. The authors of this study said that their numbers were likely an underestimate of the problem, and called wire brush injuries a growing health concern.