Warning to barbecue owners after disturbing find in boy's throat

The boy, 4, was eating a hamburger from a barbecue when he suddenly grabbed his throat and started crying.

A doctor has warned BBQ owners not to use a common cleaning tool after making a "terrifying" discovery in a four-year-old boy's throat.

Paediatric emergency doctor Meghan Martin explained what happened in a now viral video, saying the situation was "one of the most interesting cases" the doctor from Florida in the US has ever had.

"A four-year-old boy was at a BBQ eating when he suddenly grabbed his ear and started crying," she said.

In the first image, the doctor shows what a grill brush is. In another, the doctor shows a scan from Google where a metal wire is lodged in someone's throat.
A US doctor has urged barbecue owners not to use grill brushes with metal wires after a boy presented to hospital with a scary case. Source: TikTok/ beachgem10

"They brought him to the emergency department and he has a totally normal ear exam. They say do some ibuprofen and see ENT [ear, nose, throat] in a couple of days".

Doctors take steps to try to solve mystery

Given that "nothing was helping" the family brought the boy back again at 4.30 am, between day 7 and 10, when Dr Martin was in charge.

"Now he's having some fevers and he's not wanting to eat and drink and we have no idea what's going on with him," she says on TikTok. "So we went all out."

Finally after doing a CAT scan of the boy's neck, which included "the ears with contrast", they found what they were looking for.

"He had about a 2cm metal wire that was lodged in the peritonsillar tissues on the right, and he'd started to develop an abscess around it.

"He had been eating a hamburger when this had happened. So the metal wires on the grill brush had become lodged in the hamburger and when he ate the hamburger, it got lodged in the soft tissues (of the throat)."

She also explained how the boy most-likely felt "pressure and irritation" in his ear because of the Eustachian tube, which "drains the ear to the back of the throat".

Metal wire successfully removed from child's throat

Luckily, ENT surgeons were able to remove the 2cm wire and drain the potentially life-threatening abscess.

"He was started on some antibiotics and his pain was completely resolved," Dr Martin said.

Despite the case being "rare", she urged people to replace their grill cleaners with ones that have non-metal wires to avoid dangerous situations like these.

"Do not use grill brushes with metal wires," she said. "There's not only the risk that it can get lodged in the soft tissues in the throat, but they can also cause bowel obstructions and perforations in the abdomen if accidentally swallowed.

"And like I said they get mixed in the hamburger or the meat that's being cooked on the grill."

Social media users react to 'scary' discovery

The video received almost 18 million views, with many being shocked by what caused the incident.

"Who else is getting up and going to throw away their grill brush? Thank you for this story," one person commented.

"Wow, so interesting. Poor kid that had to be so sore," another said.

Others mentioned the experiences of people they know, who also accidentally swallowed metal wires from grill brushes.

"My friend had a wire from those same wire grill brushes go through his intestine and cause internal bleeding," one commented.

"Omg a colleague of mine had a bowel perforation from the same thing!!!" another said.

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