Grill brush bristles can become loose on grill, eaten, requiring surgery

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MERIDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Matt Lebeau is among many who scrape their grill clean with a metal brush as they get ready to throw some burgers on.

“Every time I grill, I clean it before, trying to get rid of all the caked on fat and leftover meat from the time before,” he said. “You have to make sure it’s clean and give it a few scrapes.”

It’s part of his pre-grilling ritual, but surgeons at MidState Medical Center say be careful, they have seen patients come into the hospital with those metal bristles lodged in their intestines. It happened earlier this month. Surgeons had to go in and cut a bristle out of a Wallingford woman.

“It’s not something I have ever thought about,” said Lebeau. “I try to clean the grill before putting the burgers on, but other than that, not a thought.”

Doctors say the metal bristles can come loose on your grill, then get into your food and end up in your intestinal track. The idea is to not use the metal bristles, or at least inspect the grill thoroughly before putting on the meat. A Brillo pad or something that isn’t metal can be used instead.

Lebeau says he will now include a bristle inspection as he does his safety check before firing up the grill.

“It’s the same way you would check the grill as you’re going around it to check to see if the gas is connected, because if that’s not connected correctly that can be a big problem too.”

The Wallingford woman isn’t the only patient that’s been treated for the problem. It happened last year to another patient who had the surgery at at MidState Medical Center.

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