As warmer weather approaches, many individuals will escape the inside and dine alfresco by grilling their vegetables, chicken, burgers and even pizza. BBQ themed parties and picnics are well underway with Memorial day approaching, but do you know the dangers of using a wire bristle brush to clean your grill?
A few years ago, a patient that Dennis Begos, MD treated made the news. On the fourth of July, a man accidentally ingested wire bristles from a grill brush. After emergency surgery that removed 6 inches of his intestines, the man survived. However, this unfortunate situation could have led to much more severe circumstances with devastating outcomes, even death. Many people each year unknowingly eat these flexible wire bristles, and in some cases, the punctures can be inoperable. Along with life-threatening circumstances, these wire bristles cause extreme pain.
“It’s hard to say that he’s lucky, but he’s certainly lucky it wasn’t more serious than it was,” Dr. Dennis Begos, Former President of the Medical Staff at Winchester Hospital articulated.
The problem is that most people don’t realize that they’ve ingested the bristles until it’s too late because they are difficult to feel in the mouth. These can lacerate the esophagus, stomach, intestinal tract and rectum. It’s a much better choice to clean your grill with a ball of aluminum foil or a nylon bristle brush. Nylon bristles are much less damaging than wire and easier for the body to get rid of if they are accidentally eaten.
If the patient is experiencing severe blood loss that causes the blood pressure to drop significantly, additional medical treatments will be necessary. Patients will receive medications, IV fluids and possibly a blood transfusion if the blood count gets too low. This can prevent shock, heart issues, and other debilitating disorders from progressing. With precise endoscopic evaluation, detection of the bristles can be diagnosed, treated, and damaged areas can usually be removed and coagulated.
From 2016 to 2017 Dennis Begos, MD was heavily involved in hospital leadership, being the president of the medical staff at Winchester Hospital. Prior to that he was Chairman of the Department of Surgery for 10 years. Dr. Begos did his general surgery residency at Yale University (1990-96), where he was honorably named Chief Resident in his last year. Dr. Begos then went on to do a one-year fellowship in colon and rectal surgery at the Cleveland Clinic (1996-97), where he trained with some of the world’s foremost experts in the field. He is married with two boys, ages 25 and 22.