Nicky Conza had a piece of metal stuck in her throat which had to be removed in a Brisbane hospital.
Nicky Conza had a piece of metal stuck in her throat which had to be removed in a Brisbane hospital. Brenda Strong

Surgery after wire barbie brush bristle sticks in throat

AN innocuous bite of chicken could have cost a Gladstone grandmother her life after a post-New Year's feast landed her in surgery in Royal Brisbane and Women's Hospital.

Nicky Conza underwent surgery on Saturday after the incident on Thursday, when the New Year's Day leftovers were being tucked into.

Mrs Conza said she had just bitten into some chicken when she felt something sharp in her throat, and suspected she had swallowed a chicken bone.

"We were eating leftovers of barbecued chicken and a piece of wire brush used to clean the barbecue must have detached and become embedded in the chicken, which then became lodged in my throat," she explained.

She immediately tried to shift the fragment with olive oil and bread, to no avail. Three hours later she felt the object move and decided to go to Gladstone Hospital.

The grandmother of four was x-rayed at Gladstone Hospital before being flown to Brisbane for delicate surgery to remove the 2cm-long piece of wire.

"The lady at the hospital asked if I was a dressmaker. She thought it might have been a pin," Mrs Conza said.

"It had pierced my oesophagus, but I had to be cut open from the front of my throat as the wire had shifted into my thyroid."

The Gladstone resident of 18 years was relieved it had not happened to one of her grandchildren, and warned others to throw away their wire scourers and scrubbers.

"Throw the scrubbers away and just use good old-fashioned elbow grease," she said.

Mrs Conza was in RBWH for surgery on Saturday and was released on Monday afternoon, to rest and recuperate at her home in Gladstone.

Fast facts:

  • If choking, bend as far forward as possible and cough forcefully to dislodge object.
  • Don't let anyone slap you on the back if you're upright because the object may slip down trachea.

- tips: www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au



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