N.S. boy hospitalized after wire from barbecue brush perforates bowel
A weekend barbecue at a relative’s home ended with a trip to the hospital for a 10-year-old Nova Scotia boy.
Pain from what seemed like flu or appendicitis was actually caused by a piece of wire from a barbecue brush.
“It was not pleasant,” said Brady Tovell. “I was in severe pain and I didn’t like it.”
He is feeling better now, after a scary few days.
“It could have been a million times worse,” said his mom Tara Tovell. “We were extremely fortunate.”
Friday night, Brady woke up with abdominal pain and started vomiting. Originally, his parents thought it was the flu, then possibly appendicitis, and rushed him to the IWK Health Centre.
“When all of it was happening and we didn't really know what the cause was, it was just sheer terror,” said Tara Tovell.
At the Halifax children's hospital, which serves all of Atlantic Canada, Brady had surgery and doctors found something they weren't expecting.
“It was the worst few hours of our life and when the surgeon came back, he said that the appendix was actually completely healthy, so they did start to explore a little bit, once they noticed there was no irritation or infection of the appendix,” said Tara Tovell. “Upon exploring, they saw the wire brush sticking out of his bowel; it actually perforated it.”
Tara Tovell says her family doesn't use wire brushes on their barbecue. However, one was used at a relative’s house.
“We've since thrown the brush out and we'll buy that person another brush,” she said.
For the IWK, this is the first time they've seen this type of incident.
“We know that it happens,” said pediatric surgeon Dr. Dafyd Davies. “We know that it happens across the country, but we have not specifically seen it here before.”
Davies says wire bristles can cause injuries.
“People should be checking their brushes every year before they start their barbecue season and keep an eye on them throughout the season to make sure that the bristles aren't falling apart, or, use an alternative method for cleaning your barbecue.”
For the last two years, Brady's family has raised money for the IWK Telethon to help support the children's hospital.
Tara Tovell says she never thought her family would be the ones needing help from medical staff.
“He actually was here, had to be admitted, had to have surgery in something so serious,” she said.
As for Brady, he had this message for the doctors and nurses who helped him:
“Thank you guys for taking care of me very well and being really nice and kind,” the boy said.
Health Canada received 56 reports involving metal bristle barbecue brushes of different brands between 2014 and December 31, 2018. Of those reported incidents, 45 led to injuries.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Natasha Pace.