Surgery removes grill brush’s metal bristle from southern Indiana woman’s throat

Emergency surgery needed to remove metal grill brush bristle from woman's throat

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WAVE) - A typical night grilling out turned serious for one southern Indiana woman.

She took a bite of her chicken and ended up needing emergency surgery days later, after a piece of metal got caught in her throat from a brush used to clean off their grill before cooking.

For years, cooking on the grill hadn’t been a problem for Amee Crossfield or her husband. Not until recently, that is.

“My husband had cleaned the grill with a metal brush and a piece of wire got stuck to the grill," Crossfield said. "We cooked chicken, went to eat some chicken and it got stuck in my throat. It felt like it just cut me immediately.”

One of the metal brush’s bristles lodged painfully at the base of her tongue in her throat after taking a bite of the freshly grilled food.

“I didn’t eat or drink because every time I would swallow, it felt like somebody was stabbing me with a knife,” Crossfield said.

Nothing would unlodge the metal bristle from her throat, she tried gagging herself, eating bread, anything she could think of to knock the metal loose.

Trips to urgent care and the emergency room were unsuccessful. An X-ray showed the bristle faintly in the picture.

Then, at Advanced ENT in New Albany, they could see it.

ENT surgeon Dr. Vasu Kakarlapudi typically sees chicken or fish bones in throats during grill season, but said metal bristles like the one in Crossfield’s throat can be serious.

The bristle was lodged in her throat and required emergency surgery to remove. (Source: WAVE 3 News)
The bristle was lodged in her throat and required emergency surgery to remove. (Source: WAVE 3 News)

“The dangerous spots are the blood vessels to the side of the throat, if they get involved," said Kakarlapudi, an otolaryngologist. "Or, if it goes down to the lungs, it can lead to some significant problems as well.”

Unable to get it out with Crossfield awake, emergency surgery was needed.

“We ended up having to put her under general anesthesia where everything could be held still. And then, using specialized equipment in the operating room, we were able to remove that without having to make any incisions in her neck,” Kakarlapudi said.

He had the metal bristle out in minutes. Once removed, the danger it posed seemed small.

“Maybe an inch long and as thin as a hair," Crossfield said, describing the small bristle removed from her throat.

In the weeks since, Crossfield said her family threw out their grill’s metal brush and urge others to do the same.

“Now, I just warn everybody. I’ve seen people in a store and I’m like don’t buy that, you need to buy something completely different,” she said. “Use tinfoil if you have to because it could cost you a lot more than that $10 brush is going to.”

And that annoying, painful, tiny metal bristle?

”I’m actually going to frame it and put it on my sign in my living room that says ‘cool story, bro,'" Crossfield said.

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