‘It could have been my last meal’: Kent woman says metal in her Panda Express could have killed her

RENTON, Wash. — “It could have been my last meal and I just thank God it wasn’t and I’m still here with my children,” says Miriam Yocupicio, a Kent resident now part of a lawsuit against a well-known fast-food chain.

On Easter, Yocupicio got takeout from Panda Express at The Landing in Renton, her kids’ favorite.

But after just two bites at the dinner table, she knew something was wrong.

“I tried to swallow but when I swallowed, I felt it I got really bad ear pain. I rushed myself to the hospital,” says Yocupicio.

In a panic, Miriam left her kids with her sister.

After she got to the ER, an x-ray revealed an object lodged in her throat.

But she had to wait ten painful hours for a specialist who could get it out.

“The doctor right away gave me… said ‘do want to see what was in your throat?’ I’m like (nodding) and he gave me the wire, the piece of wire.”

A metal wire about two inches long that was in her meal.

Miriam, who works at a restaurant, believes it was a bristle from a grill brush.

She says the scariest part is that she was sharing her meal with her two-year-old son.

“It could’ve killed one of my kids,” said Yocupicio.

“I think what was so jarring is when the doctor asked, ‘do you have a will and testament?’ No one should have to hear that after eating some fast food,” says California attorney Roseann Torres, who represents Yocupicio in a lawsuit against Panda Restaurant Group.

Torres says Panda has a history of negligence, resulting in multiple lawsuits.

“They are not supposed to use these kinds of brushes. Being on notice, they should have prevented this,” said Torres.

Yocupicio says she doesn’t plan to return to Panda Express anytime soon.

“It could happen to me -- it could happen to somebody else. That’s why I decided to reach out,” she said.

Panda Restaurant Group did not respond to KIRO 7′s request for comment.

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