Mum’s warning after bacon and egg sandwich almost killed daughter

'She was munching away, then she started to feel like she was choking.'

Mum’s warning after bacon and egg sandwich almost killed daughter
A composite image of a young girl and her mother in hospital and a jar containing the bristle from a BBQ brush.
Kristen Saunders said her daughter accidentally ate the bristle from a BBQ cleaning brush tucked inside the sandwich (Picture: Kristen Saunders)

A young girl almost died after eating a bacon and egg roll that contained a foreign object.

Kirsten Saunders said her daughter, 9, accidentally swallowed the bristle from a barbecue cleaning brush.

The wire then pushed into an artery in her neck, which feeds the brain with blood.

Kirsten said: ‘She was munching away, then she started to feel like she was choking.

She seemed to recover and went on to compete in a school athletics competition, but did struggle with eating solid foods and had a sore throat.

Within a few days her condition deteriorated and her family took her to a nearby hospital in Newcastle, New South Wales.

Girl, 9, needed life saving surgery after eating a bacon and egg sandwich
The sharp wire became wedged inside the youngster (Picture: Kristen Saunders)
Girl, 9, needed life saving surgery after eating a bacon and egg sandwich
The bristles have long been a worry for health experts and officials (Picture: Kristen Saunders)

By the time she got there, the young girl had become disoriented and couldn’t recognise her relatives.

Doctors found abcesses in her brain and she had to be taken to a children’s hospital in Sydney.

Her arteries had become infected and she needed a risky operation.

Kirsten told ABC Newcastle Breakfast: ‘She actually had a phenomenal recovery, considering what it could have looked like and how it could have ended up, and she’s doing really well now.’

Girl, 9, needed life saving surgery after eating a bacon and egg sandwich
The young girl was eventually flown to another hospital for surgery (Picture: Kristen Saunders)
Girl, 9, needed life saving surgery after eating a bacon and egg sandwich
The young girl has since recovered (Picture: Kristen Saunders)

Her daughter is on a course of antibiotics and is back at school.

Researchers have described barbecue wire brushes as an ‘under-recognised and difficult-to-manage hazard’.

If swallowed, the tiny bristles can get stuck in the throat and, if left untreated, end up in vital body parts such as the intestines.

Around 1,700 people in the US ended up in emergency wards from 2002 to 2014 due to BBQ brush-bristle-related incidents, or about 140 cases per year, according to a 2016 study published in the Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery journal.

Among the cases, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said people experienced neck punctures which resulted in pain when swallowing as well as pricks to their gastrointestinal tract, requiring emergency surgery.

The agency said in 2012: ‘Awareness among the public, manufacturers who make wire grill-cleaning brushes, and retailers who sell these products can reduce exposures and decrease the likelihood of further occurrences.

‘Before cooking, persons should examine the grill surface carefully for the presence of bristles that might have dislodged from the grill brush and could embed in cooked food.

‘Alternative residential grill-cleaning methods or products might be considered.’

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