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Danger when grilling: Metal barbecue brushes

A very common summer event is the family barbecue. From charred hot dogs to fantastic steaks, everyone seems to love this form of warm-weather cooking. However, there could be a very dangerous utensil used to clean your barbecue grill and that is your metal barbecue brush.

According to one woman, that barbecue brush was responsible for a trip to the emergency room that ultimately ended in emergency surgery. She recounts having a barbecue at a friend's house and they cleaned the grill with this type of brush. The food was then cooked as normal. When she ate the last bite of her burger, she felt a stabbing pain in the back of her throat. She thought a piece of rosemary was stuck in her throat.

However, she immediately began throwing up. She went home and went to bed. The next morning, she made her four kids breakfast. As long as she didn't move around or talk, she wouldn't get sick.

Eventually, though, she start to vomit blood. She called a colleague of hers, who told her she needed to go to the emergency room. Tests, including x-rays were done, but it took a CT scan for doctors to realize what was really stuck in the woman's throat. She was sent to an otolaryngology specialist to have the wire bristle removed, but it couldn't be done in his office. The woman underwent emergency surgery.

This is more common than you might think. There were about 12 surgeries last year at St. Joseph's to remove wire bristles. The government in Canada and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have put out warnings about the dangers.

It's not known if any of the victims of the wire brush have filed personal injury lawsuits against the manufacturer. Many of the brushes were likely made in China, making it difficult for such a lawsuit to be filed. If you have questions about such a lawsuit, a personal injury attorney can help.

Source: Toronto Star, "Beware that metal barbecue brush," Joanna Frketich, June 30, 2015

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