A pediatric ER took to TikTok last week to warn people against the use of grill brushes that contain metal wires – adding that it could save a life. In the video, which was a little more than two minutes long, she described a recent case involving a 4-year-old boy who was admitted to the ER where she works.
Calling it ‘one of my most interesting cases,’ the doctor explained how the 4-year-old boy was originally complaining of ear pain. Naturally, the team of doctors and nurses performed an ear exam. While the exam came back ‘totally normal’ and there were no signs of anything wrong, the ear pain continued.
The family was instructed to give the little boy ibuprofen and return to the ENT (ear, nose, and throat doctor) in a few days. Two days go by, and the little boy is still experiencing ear pain. Doing as the doctors told them to, the family took their son to the ENT, and – again – his exams came back ‘totally normal.’
They continued to do at-home treatments that involved ibuprofen and numbing drops, but the little boy wasn’t getting any relief. After two more days passed, the little boy was admitted back into the ER and underwent a CAT scan of the mastoid – a honeycomb-like bone structure located behind/near the ear.
Again, everything looked ‘totally normal,’ and doctors weren’t able to pinpoint what was causing the ear pain and where it was originating. They, again, instructed the family to see a pediatrician and ENT in a few days if the pain persists or worsens. The pain persisted, and he returned to the ER after 2-3 days.
At this point, the ear pain has persisted for more than a week without any relief. They arrived at the ER around 4:30 in the morning, and while he was still complaining of ear pain, he was also experiencing fevers and loss of appetite. Doctors noticed swelling of the tonsil and tenderness in the neck area.
So, the doctors decide to perform a CAT scan of the entire neck and ears – as well as any other test they could think of. The CAT scan finally revealed a 2-centimeter metal wire ‘lodged in the paratonsillar tissues on the right,’ which resulted in an abscess forming around it. This is what was causing the pain and fevers.
What Does This Have to Do With Grill Brushes?
You might be asking yourself, what does all of this have to do with grill brushes? When the 4-year-old boy started complaining of ear pain, he was eating a hamburger that was cooked on a grill at home. The parents had used a grill brush with metal wires on it to clean the grill prior to cooking the hamburgers.
Pieces of the metal wire were left behind on top of the grill and found its way on the burger once placed on the grill. As the kid was eating, the metal wire became lodged into the child’s soft tissues. That’s why the pediatric emergency medicine (PEM) doctor is urging people not to use grill brushes with metal wires.
“He was feeling the pain in his ear probably because of the eustachian tube – the tube that drains the ear to the back of the throat is in that area – so he was probably feeling pressure and irritation from that, and that’s why he was having pain there,” explained the doctor in her TikTok video, which quickly went viral.
The little boy went to the operating room, the metal wire was removed, the abscess was drained, and he was given antibiotics. Suddenly, the ear pain was no longer! Over the past five days, the doctor’s TikTok has received more than 32 million views, 4.2 million likes, 55,000 comments, and 500,000 shares.
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