A pediatric emergency medicine physician's TikTok video has garnered more than 35 million views in 72 hours after she shared one of "the most interesting cases" she’s seen in her career — while warning people about one way a simple backyard barbecue could become life-threatening.
"The ER is always unpredictable," Dr. Meghan Martin, a pediatric emergency medicine physician at Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg, Florida, said.
"We see a lot of unusual things, but this is one of the more unique cases I've treated, though not the only one," she said.
In her recent TikTok video, Martin explained that last month, a four-year-old boy who had been eating food at a barbecue was brought to the emergency room because he was "complaining of ear pain."
He had a "totally normal ear exam," Martin said in the video.
"His ear exam was totally normal, and he was still complaining of ear pain," she added.
On the throat exam, Martin explained, the child had some swelling of the tonsil area on the right and tenderness in the neck on the right side.
"So we went all out," Martin said. "We did a CAT scan of the neck, which included the ears with contrast. We did a ton of labs, gave him fluids, just did every test we could think of doing. Then we got our answer with the CAT scan."
The boy ended up having a two-centimeter metal wire lodged in his throat's peritonsillar tissues.
He had also begun to develop an abscess around it.
"He had been eating a hamburger when this happened," Martin shared in her video.
"So, the grill brush — the metal wires on the grill brush — had become lodged in the hamburger and when he ate the hamburger, it got lodged in the soft tissues."
Martin said if the foreign body had remained inside the boy's body, there would have been an enlarging abscess or pocket of infection that would have spread and caused other problems.
"Potentially worsening problems eating, maybe breathing, and possible sepsis," Martin said about what could have happened.