Most Americans across the country have already gotten a head start on celebrating Independence Day by taking advantage of the long weekend. Knowing that most people’s plans probably include a barbecue or two, you may want to think twice before getting your grilling on. Authorities have just issued an urgent warning after one man nearly died from a common item at cookouts and there could undoubtedly be more if some don’t get the message in time.
Barbecues are part of what makes summer so great but there’s something that could ruin it in a hurry if you’re not careful. Hot grills, coals, and undercooked meat are certainly all obvious dangers, but now there’s something far sneakier to be concerned about that could severely harm or kill you or anyone at your barbecue.
Chester Poole was cooking burgers for his family and had made one he was really proud of. Anticipating that first bite, he bit down into his masterpiece that had just come straight off the grill and got a sharp pain instead of the enjoyable juicy mouthful of grilled meat. Seconds later, he was screaming in pain and had to be rushed to the ER where he underwent emergency surgery.
Poole was diligent about cleaning his grill and like most people used a wire grill brush to clear off the grates. These seemingly indestructible tools can slough off more than just charred piece of food left behind, as Poole found out the hard way. Some of the tiny wire bristles had come off in the cleaning process. When Poole put his fresh meat on the grill, his patty picked up the bristle and had gotten lodged in his throat on his first bite.
CTV News reports:
Poole told CTV Atlantic on Thursday that he immediately went to the hospital where he was told to avoid drinking or eating until he could see an ear, nose and throat specialist in Halifax the next day.
“The doctor came in and he said, ‘I want to be brutally honest with you,’” Poole recounted. “He said, ‘There is one chance in 100 that I am even going to find this.”
The doctor who examined Poole’s throat, Dr. Tim Brown, said he generally sees a couple of similar cases every year.
“It is a tiny little needle and if you think of the neck as a haystack they can get lodged anywhere between the mouth and all the way down to the throat and even further, so finding it in soft tissue back there, this tiny little filament, can sometimes be almost a mission impossible,” Dr. Brown said.
Despite the slim odds, Dr. Brown was able to locate and remove the pin-sized metal bristle from Poole’s throat.
Authorities are warning of what to look for so this doesn’t happen to you or anyone else you know. While they encourage cleaning the grill, they say to be sure to check the bristles on your wire brush on a regular basis. Over time, they can become rusted, loose, or sparse and will stick to your grill without you realizing it. Since they are so small, you may not even see them on the grill and won’t even know it’s there until it gets in your food and into your body where it will certainly be felt.
Poole contends that his barbecue brush wasn’t even that old or well-worn when he swallowed the bristle, CTV News reports. “If you’re not concerned about yourself, I think you should be concerned about your kids, grandkids, even church groups that have church barbecues,” he said.
The Yarmouth man said he won’t be using another wire barbecue brush in the future and has since switched his previous one with a wooden scraper instead.
There is no shortage of things to be concerned about when trying to enjoy yourself this summer and especially this Independence Day. While these things shouldn’t hold you back, you need to be aware of the dangers as to avoid anything that could ruin your good time and our nation’s birthday. Spending time with those you love is the most important, which is better spent outdoors rather than in a hospital.
Please share this warning with everyone who has plans to barbecue this summer so they can avoid this little-known danger with a potentially devastating outcome.