(Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS)                                Amanda Godfrey with piece of wire barbecue brush that got lodged in Liam’s throat.

(Phil Melnychuk/THE NEWS) Amanda Godfrey with piece of wire barbecue brush that got lodged in Liam’s throat.

Maple Ridge boy, 8, gets barbeque bristle stuck in throat

Has nine-hour surgery to remove two-centimetre long wire.

Maple Ridge mom Amanda Godfrey is telling people to toss their wire brushes used for cleaning barbecues after a recent scare involving her eight-year-old son put him in surgery for nine hours.

Her husband had just finished cleaning the barbecue Sept. 29 at their Albion home and had cooked up some nice steaks.

Their son Liam had just one bite.

“He came screaming into the kitchen that his neck and his throat were sore. Not like he had a sore throat – something was wrong,” Amanda said.

Her husband checked him out and found that he was breathing OK. But the first thing that Amanda thought of was, he had a metal bristle stuck in his throat.

A quick trip to Ridge Meadows Hospital and an X-ray confirmed that.

“He had a piece of the bristle stuck horizontally in his esophagus,” said Amanda.

The hospital sent him to B.C. Children’s Hospital, where a doctor told them a scope would be able to remove the bristle within about 20 minutes.

“So he went under and it took about five hours.”

The surgeon was twice able to grab the wire, only to have it fall twice, each time farther down the throat.

The surgeon conferred with a specialist and presented the parents with two options. Leave the bristle in there and see what happens. It could sit there and do no harm or at some point, the metal could cause internal damage.

The other option was a new procedure, one doctors hadn’t done before, making an incision in his neck behind a main artery.

“But because it was a surgery they hadn’t done before, there was a lot of risk.”

It could have led to temporary numbness or other complications. She opted for that and following another four hours of surgery, they were able to extract it. About 20 doctors were watching the procedure that had never been done before, she added.

“That made me unsure, am I making the right decision for my son.”

Liam’s OK now and the family hasn’t used the barbecue since.

Some people say adults are able to feel a bristle more easily than children. But she’d still rather people toss the metal brushes pointing out there are other types of brushes to clean a barbecue.

“You’re dealing with metal bristles that are the same colour as the barbeque grill. So sometimes they’re impossible to see,” she points out.

Health Canada warns people to inspect their barbecue and brush before each use, noting that the metal bristles on a brush can become loose over time and stick to the grill. “The bristles can stick to food and could be accidentally swallowed, possibly causing serious throat or digestive injuries.”

Health Canada recommends replacing brushes regularly and to toss a brush immediately if the bristles are loose.

There are also alternative types of brushes on the market.