Hey parents! If you didn’t think you could possibly have another weird thing to be worried about when it comes to keeping your kids safe — think again. A pediatric emergency medicine doctor is warning parents about the dangers of wire grill brushes after a 4-year-old boy suffered complications after ingesting pieces of wire at a backyard barbecue.
Meghan Martin — a Florida pediatric ER doctor also known as @Beachgem10 on TikTok — shared a video in which she describes “one of the most interesting cases” that she has encountered.
She begins, describing a young boy who came into the ER complaining of intense ear pain after eating at a backyard barbecue.
“He had a totally normal ear exam,” Martin said, adding that since doctors couldn’t pinpoint the cause of the boy’s pain, he was sent home.
Two days later — after a visit to an ear nose and throat specialist — doctors still could not figure out why the boy was in pain. The boy went back to the ER for a CAT scan which also resulted in nothing concrete.
Ten days out from the initial ER visit for ear pain, the boy came down with a fever. His parents took him back to ER in the middle of the night where doctors did a full slate of tests on the boy, including a more extensive CAT scan.
“We have no idea what’s going on with him,” Martin said. “We did every test that we could think of doing.”
Finally, everyone had an answer. The CAT scan revealed that the boy had a two-centimeter wire lodged in his peritonsillar tissues, and had started to develop an abscess around it. A peritonsillar abscess is an area of pus-filled tissue at the back of the mouth, next to one of the tonsils.
Yikes, does that sound painful.
Doctors discovered that the boy had swallowed metal wires from a grill brush that got lodged in the hamburger meat he ate at the barbecue.
Surgeons later removed the wire and drained the abscess, and “his pain was totally resolved,” Martin said.
In a follow-up video, Martin defended the doctors’ decision to not do a full CT scan with contrast on the boy’s first visit to the ER.
“Getting the right diagnosis isn’t like on TV, it can take time for more clues to show up and the ER usually isn’t the place it happens,” she captioned the video.
Now, Martin is using this boy’s story as a cautionary tale, warning parents not to clean their grills with wire brushes.
Interesting enough, a little over two weeks ago, pieces of wire brush were found in mashed potatoes that were served with students’ lunches at a school in Tucumcari, New Mexico.
Thankfully, there were no reports of students ingesting the pieces of wire brush.
“Do not use grill brushes with metal wires,” Martin warns, adding that the wires can become lodged in soft tissues of the throat, also cause bowel obstructions and perforations in the abdomen if accidentally swallowed.
New parenting fear unlocked!
The video has since gone insanely viral, garnering a staggering 32.2 million views. About a million of those are from me — a paranoid and anxious mom who sent the TikTok to literally every single one of my friends who has kids.