Cameron Co. Father Warns Parents after Son Chokes on Wire Bristle

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BROWNSVILLE – A Cameron County family said they had quite the scare when their young son almost choked while eating barbecue.

Brownsville resident Matt McCumber said his son suffered a pierced esophagus due to a wire bristle from a brush used to clean the grill.

“We just came back from a game and we were going to a couple birthday parties after that, and my wife picked up these barbecue plates that you seek in the parking lots on the road,” he said. “He started eating. First bite and he started choking and we were freaking out.”

McCumber said his son, Colt, started to vomit.

“He could breathe so that was good. We’re like, ‘Okay, maybe it’s stuck in there a certain way. It’s wedged in his throat,’” he recalled.

McCumber and his wife rushed Colt to the emergency room where doctors ordered x-rays.

“They invited us to go look at them… We thought it was a little speck on the screen. You could barely see it,” he said. “So, they looked at it from another angle and a different x-ray and we’re like, ‘That’s a piece of metal.’”

McCumber said he’s heard stories about people swallowing bristles but never thought he would experience it firsthand.

“We ended up having to go to Driscoll Hospital in Corpus Christi, following an ambulance up there and they put a surgical team together like at midnight and got it out,” he said.

McCumber said he has a warning for those who clean their grill.

“Throw those brushes away. I mean, use an onion. I didn’t see the chicken before he started eating it. Please, look over the food and make sure it looks right,” the father said.

Incidents like these are rare but can be very dangerous.

Consumer Product Safety Commission’s statistics show about 130 people end up in the emergency room every year after swallowing a bristle.The agency suggests using a pumice stone, a scouring-pad-shaped wire-mesh grill cleaning tool or a wad of crumpled-up aluminum foil.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urges people using a wire bristle brush to check the grill thoroughly before cooking. 


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