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Doctors Are Warning All Grillers To Throw Away Their Wire BBQ Brushes

ryan.ford 5 Jun 2019

Summer is supposed to be the fun, let-your-hair-down, cut-loose season. And, for the most part, it is. You ride roller coasters, eat ice cream, sun bathe, and chill on the beach. But just because you put your long pants and sweaters away doesn't mean you can completely let your guard down, unfortunately.

As one mom is reminding us, it doesn't take much to turn a fun summer into a near-tragedy.

Ten-year-old Brady Tovell is lucky to be alive after he swallowed a wire that dislodged from a grill-cleaning brush.

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When he woke up one night with abdominal pains, his parents thought it might just be constipation, his mother, Tara, explained in a Facebook post.

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When things worsened, with him vomiting "every 30-45 mins for the next 15 hours," they knew it was something worse.

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Suspecting appendicitis, they took him to the hospital, where an ultrasound showed fluid in his abdomen, so doctors prepared to operate.

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Less than 36 hours after his symptoms started, Brady was scheduled for surgery to inspect and possibly remove his appendix.

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But, two hours later, the doctors told Brady's mother that his appendix was fine after all.

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The culprit was actually a grill brush wire that had perforated his bowel.

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Brady will be okay, but his recovery will be far from quick, and had the surgeons not found that little wire, he could have been in real trouble.

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Brady's mom and doctors alike want everyone to know the dangers posed by those tiny grill brush wires.

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"Never in a million years did we think it was a barbecue bristle," Tara told Global News.

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She says that her family typically doesn't use wire brushes to clean their barbecue, but on this occasion it was convenient because they were moving houses.

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"The [wired brush] was just there," she said. "My husband thought he was being extremely careful every single time he used it."

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Dislodged wires are as easy for doctors to miss as they are for grillers.

"A lot of people come in with abdominal pain and throat pain, and they themselves don't really remember ingesting a wire brush," said Dr. Darrell Chiasson, an emergency room doctor in Halifax. "They're often missed in the initial diagnosis."

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Once they're inside you, little wires can do some serious damage.

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Getting a wire lodged in your throat would be bad enough, but when swallowed, the wires become a serious problem. "Once in your intestine, it can perforate through the wall of your intestine, and that is quite concerning," said Dr. Oswaldo Ramirez.

He could recall a patient ending up in the ICU after a grill brush wire punctured his small intestine.

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If you do end up having to go the hospital with abdominal pain, it's important to tell the doctors if you've been grilling specifically.

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Lots of things can cause abdominal pain, from allergies to gas to food poisoning — and in an emergency room, doctors might not suspect a wire if they don't know that the food had been prepared on a grill.

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That's why doctors — and Tara — want to try to prevent these incidents before they happen.

"The difficult thing is that if you don't have a savvy physician it's very easy to miss making the appropriate diagnosis," Dr. Ramirez said. He and many others recommend simply throwing away wire grill brushes and going with an alternative.

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That's what Tara did at her first opportunity, and she still has a hard time even seeing them on store shelves.

"I stopped at the Superstore for a few things to bring to the hospital and when I walked passed their isle stocked with wire bbq brushes, it took everything in me not to tear the display down," she wrote. "I implore you, if you have a wire brush, please throw it out and get a wooden or nylon one from Costco. Things could have been so much worse for my child."

h/t Global News

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