Grill brush bristle lodges in Milford woman’s tongue

Connecticut

Marlene Scrivani says she knew something was terribly wrong the minute she bit into a burger she grilled back in May. With tears in her eyes, she describes what the past month and a half have been like. 

“It’s hard to speak, hard to swallow,” Scrivani says emotionally. 

She said when she ate the burger if felt like a piece of glass pierced her tongue. A grill brush bristle ended up impaled in her tongue deep in the back of her mouth. It was found after a CT scan. 

Nearly a month later, Marlene had her first surgery, then a second and a third. 

“The first surgery, they manipulated by mouth and tongue for four hours so it has left me with ulcers and no feeling in my tongue,” Scrivani said.  “Then the third surgery, he said he couldn’t get it out.  He couldn’t get it out.” 

Scrivani will now wait at least six weeks for the swelling to go down before the possibility of a fourth surgery. With people firing up their grills for the fourth of July, she wants people to know the dangers. 

“I want them to be aware of the dangers of grill brushes,” Scrivani said.  “It’s something you didn’t think of – I never thought about it.”

In 2015, a Wallingford woman, Cheryl Harrison, had to have a grill brush bristle removed from her intestine two days after eating a burger. 

“The pain, it just hurt every time I moved,” Harrison said.  “My stomach was extended, swelled, so it was at that point I went to the ER.” 

Doctors recommend using a brillo pad, a stone or bristle-free brush or using a cloth and oil to clean the grill before you cook out. 

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