Evening of grilling turned medical nightmare

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WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) -

A perfect day for grilling for a Wichita family quickly turned into a major health scare. 

Kathy Jorgensen hasn't used her grill in almost a year. 

"Actually we haven't grilled since because it's just too fresh in our minds," says Jorgensen.

Jorgensen and her family were grilling hamburgers on a normal night last July, but what she would experience the next morning was anything but normal.

"It felt like a knife. Somebody sticking a knife in my stomach and twisting it," she says.

She immediately called her doctor. After several tests and a second opinion, she says, "he saw it right away. He said there's a foreign body in your stomach."

That's when things became clear. She remembered the hamburgers, the grill and the brush they used to clean it. 

"It dawned on me that it might be a wire from the grill brush," she says.

And that's exactly what doctors found. 

"Even when they layed me back on the table. I said, it's right there, I can feel it," says Jorgensen.

The Journal of Otolaryngology says between 2004 and 2016, there were more than 1,600 emergency room visits from ingesting a wire bristle from a grill brush.

Kathy Cary owns All Things Barbque. She says there are alternatives to cleaning your grill. She also points out it's not what you use, but how you use it.

If you grill often, you should replace your grill brush every three to four months. If you're just a seasonal griller, you can stick to just once a year. 

Jorgensen ended up on the operating table.

"He told my husband when he came out, that was like looking for a needle in a haystack. He didn't even think he was gonna find it, but he did," says Jorgensen.

Over the seven week scare, Jorgensen could barely eat, and she lost 12 pounds. Now, she's made a full recovery. 

But as for the grill brush..."This you don't want to use anymore," she said.

If you're looking for an something to clean your grill that you might already have in your own home. try bunched up foil or even a lemon or an onion cut in half. If you do still use a wire brush, make sure you keep it inside and away from your pets, because they could eat a bristle and become sick too.

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