One of the things that I prefer do with my family during hot summers is gather around table in our backyard at night, fire up the grill, and enjoy delicious burgers for dinner. However, after hearing the horrible situation The Fiore family went through, I became more careful when grilling food.
The family was enjoying her dinner when little 6-year-old son Anthony took one bite of his burger and immediately fell ill.
“It felt like a needle,” the boy told the Canadian Broadcasting Situation.
Anthony was rushed to the hospital where doctors discovered that he had swallowed a tiny metal wire bristle from a barbecue grill cleaning brush.
“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,” Anthony’s mother, Nadia said.
Doctors don’t exactly have a surefire way of removing the thin wires from people’s throats when swallowed but surgeons at SickKids were able to dislodge it.
After that, doctors just had to make sure Anthony didn’t develop a throat infection from the bacteria on the bristle. Apparently, surgeons have encountered lots of patients who need these bristles removed from their throats, a situation which has the potential to be fatal.
“It makes a hole in the intestine and that could be life-threatening,” said Dr. Aziz Benbrahim. “We had a patient who had it in there for 2 weeks and he had severe complications and bigger surgery.”
Duff Dixon, 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.
“These stories have been happening as long as the brushes have been around,” said Dixon.
An even safer method is to avoid using these brushes all together.
An alternative method for cleaning your grill is lighting it and letting it sit with the lid closed. This will loosen the gunk in your barbecue. You can use a scrunched up piece of aluminum foil to scrub it away. Just be careful not to burn yourself!
Nadia says she came public with her son’s incident so that other families could be aware of this issue and avoid it.
“I hope to have these brushes removed from the shelves, have them banned,” she said.
Anthony is now scared of eating anything off the grill, and the family hasn’t barbecued since the terrifying accident.
You can learn about others who suffered from this serious hazard in the video below.