A 16-year-old girl complaining of sharp pains in her abdomen received shocking news when she visited the doctor: She'd swallowed wire bristle from a grill brush while barbecuing with her family.
Doctors determined that the week before the girl developed the pain, which was in one spot in her abdomen, she'd been grilling with her family.
The teen reportedly recalled one relative cleaning the grill with a brush, leading doctors to determine that one of the brushes fell onto the grill and became stuck in one of the hamburgers she ate.
"This is a great example of a situation where it is not a very common occurrence, but if physicians are aware there's a potential for injury, they can explore the patient's history," pediatrician Dr. Matthew Di Guglielmo, one of the doctors who treated the girl, told CNN.
A new study from Dr. C.W. David Chang, associate professor of clinical otolaryngology at the University of Missouri's School of Medicine, examined the effects of wire bristles on those who consumed grilled food.
"The issue is likely under-reported and thus underappreciated," Chang said in a news release, UPI reported. "Because of the uncommon nature of wire bristle injuries, people may not be as mindful about the dangers and implications. Awareness among emergency department physicians, radiologists and otolaryngologists is particularly important so that appropriate tests and examinations can be conducted," Chang added.
The study examined cases of injury from wire-bristle grill brushes that were available in the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s National Electronic Injury Surveillance System (NEISS). The team who conducted the study identified 43 cases in the system between 2002 and 2014, and they discovered nearly 1,700 cases nationwide in that time period.
The study, which was published to Sage Journals, concluded, "Awareness among consumers and product manufacturers is necessary to promote safety."
"Usually I tell people it is fine if they want to use a wire brush, but after they use it to get a cloth to wipe down the grill surface and really inspect it before they start cooking on it," Dr. Evan J. Harlor of the Geisinger Medical Center in Pennsylvania told CNN.