Entries in BBQ (2)


Tiny Wire from BBQ Brush Lands Teen in Surgery

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOUNTLAKE TERRACE, Wash.) -- A Washington state teen is recovering after a “violent” stomach ache landed him in a hospital where doctors performed exploratory surgery only to discover his problems stemmed from a BBQ brush wire that he unknowingly swallowed.

Tristin Beck, 16, of Mountlake Terrace, Wash., was admitted to Seattle Children’s hospital late last week when his symptoms went from stomach pains to vomiting. Tristin told his parents it felt like he was being stabbed from the inside out.

On Sunday night, doctors performed exploratory surgery on his small intestine and found a problem no one expected.

“We saw the glisten of metal off the light. Another doctor said that looks like a wire from a BBQ brush,” said Dr. Kimberly Riechle, a surgeon at the hospital. “It turns out Tristin unknowingly ate one of these, a wire -- the size of a hair -- from a common grill brush. It apparently came off and stuck to the chicken he was eating at a family BBQ.”

As strange as it sounds, this is not the first time a wire from a grill brush has landed someone in the hospital. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control has issued a warning in the past about old BBQ brushes and the threat of tiny metal bristles rubbing off.

Doctors from Rhode Island Hospital reported in July 2012 that six people came to the emergency department from 2011 to 2012 with wire bristles from grill brushes lodged in their throats, stomachs, intestines or other organs after eating meat cooked on an outdoor grill.

Tristin’s mother, Beth Beck, had never heard of the problem and is now heeding the CDC’s warning and throwing out her BBQ brush. Beck is also urging other parents to check their brush right before the BBQ season heats up.

“I don’t want anybody else to go through this. It’s been horrible,” Beck said.

Tristin, who described the pain as “pretty violent,” is still in the hospital and expected to make a full recovery. He has gone from scared to overwhelmed about his strange close call.

“I have really bad luck because of this one in a million chance happened to me. But also really good luck because they found it so early and the doctors put me in the O.R. and got it out,” Tristin said.

Tristin hasn’t been able to eat solid food for days and is craving something delicious to chow down on, but he says, just don’t offer him anything off the grill for a while.


Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Growing Concern: Grill Brush Bristles Get Stuck in Food, Throats

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(PROVIDENCE, R.I.) -- Few things taste better at the end of a summer day than a juicy burger or steak hot off the grill. But when a piece of wire from the grill cleaning brush gets stuck in your food, not to mention your throat or stomach, that dinner can quickly turn hazardous to your health. One hospital has reported a rash of such cases.

Doctors from Rhode Island Hospital reported this week that six people came to the emergency department from 2011 to 2012 with wire bristles from grill brushes lodged in their throats, stomachs, intestines or other organs after eating meat cooked on an outdoor grill.

The cases were the second round of such injuries at the hospital. In 2009 and 2010, another six patients came to the ER with the same problems, the doctors reported in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Dr. David Grand, the lead author of the report and a diagnostic radiologist at Rhode Island Hospital, said the injuries are relatively infrequent compared with the number of people who grill and use grill brushes every day. But he said it probably happens more often than doctors may suspect.

"What was most striking about this collection is that we saw so many cases at just one hospital," Grand said. "I started getting calls from around the country from doctors who had seen similar injuries in their patients."

Concern over grill brushes has been simmering lately as these injuries have popped up around the U.S. In May, Sen. Charles Schumer called for a federal review of grill brush safety by the Consumer Product Safety Commission and the Food and Drug Administration after hearing reports of two men, in New Jersey and Washington, who had been injured and needed surgery after accidentally ingesting a bristle.

In response to Schumer's request, the CPSC combed data on injuries from hospital emergency departments around the U.S. and found nine cases of people injured by swallowing brush bristles reported since 2007. Grill brushes were also responsible for 28 other injuries since 2007, eight of which came about when consumers reported that a bristle got stuck on the grill or in their food.

The commission is reviewing the reports "to see if there is an identifiable pattern of defect in the product category or a specific product that could create an unreasonable risk of injury or death," CPSC chair Inez Tenenbaum said in a letter to Schumer in June.

Grand said his team was unable to link any of the injuries at Rhode Island Hospital to a particular product or brand of grill brushes.

ABC News contacted several companies that manufacture grill brushes. Michael Wales, a spokesman for the Grill Daddy Brush Company, said the company rigorously tests its products and has never had any reports of consumers accidentally swallowing the stainless steel bristles from their brushes. Other companies did not respond to requests for comment.

When swallowing a wire bristle leads to a puncture in the intestines, the bacteria lining the gut can filter into the bloodstream, increasing the risk of widespread infection in the body. Additionally, some of the bristles have to be removed surgically, which always comes with possible complications.

Once lodged in the body, the bristles may also puncture other, larger organs. When one woman swallowed a bristle, it went through her stomach and lodged in her liver, Grand said.

Dr. Joel Levine, a professor of gastroenterology at the University of Connecticut, said he's not surprised that a wire bristle might get stuck in a bite of steak or a burger, but the risk of someone's being injured from their grill brush is probably a "low-probability event."

"Actually, the risks from what you are cooking on the grill likely outweigh the brush bristles," Levine said. "High amounts of grilled meats have been long known as a cancer risk."

The CPSC advises consumers to inspect their grills before firing them up, keeping an eye out for stray pieces of metal that could get stuck in food. Grand said barbecuers should replace worn-out grill brushes or consider using cleaning tools that don't use wire bristles.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio