Seven-year-old faces uncertain future after stepping on needle

A WORRIED mother faces months of uncertainty after her son stepped on a used syringe at a South Mackay playground.

The seven-year-old boy underwent the first of a long series of tests at Mackay Base Hospital on Saturday.

He would have to have more tests in three months and again six months after that before being cleared of any infection, the mother of five said.

"I'm staying positive, but I'm prepared for the worst," she said. "I just want him not to worry about it."

The Daily Mercury has chosen not to identify the child.

The woman, who lives opposite the Pompey St playground, is distributing flyers warning neighbours who use the park of the risk of finding used syringes in the area.

"I have a diabetic child. I have sharps continuously. I dispose of them properly," she said. "It's not hard to do. Anyone can do it.

"It's not fair to families to put them through this."

While she won't stop her children using the playground, she said she worried about their safety.

"For my own peace of mind I don't want them over there... but I'm just going to have to be more vigilant."

The woman said groups of people often used the park at night.

"I would be really good if the council could light it up at night," she said.

Mackay Base Hospital emergency department director Dr Pieter Nel it was important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after a needle stick injury.

"A health practitioner will give you advice on the possible need and timing of HIV, hepatitis B or hepatitis C testing if required," Dr Nel said.

"In many cases treatment of the needle mark is all that is needed. Don't panic. The risk of catching a serious infection as a result of an accidental needle stick injury is very low, because these viruses do not survive for long outside of the body."

Safe injecting kits are available for people at ATODS at Community Health, Nelson St, and from a vending machine at Mackay Base Hospital, the Emergency Department and Sarina Hospital.

Mackay Regional Council director community and client services Gerard Carlyon said residents should contact council immediately if they came across a discarded sharp or sharps on council land and were unable to safely remove it.

"Our staff visit parks across the region on a weekly basis to ensure play equipment and amenities are maintained and the area is cleaned of litter," he said.

For the removal of sharps found in public places phone 1300 MACKAY (622 529).

Are discarded syringes a problem in Mackay?

This poll ended on 04 March 2014.

Current Results

Yes

64%

No

35%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.



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