Grandma slams council, hospital2005-05-28
Sat, May 28, 2005
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THE grandmother of a Benalla boy pricked with a used needle in Albury last weekend said the citys council and hospital had handled the incident poorly.
Kristine Piper claims the council had told her it would not be “cost effective” to place warning signs in areas where needles were located.
“I was told this may also frighten the public,” she claimed.
But the council says Ms Piper had taken the comments out of context.
Ms Piper contacted the council after her grandson Zachary Pearson, 8, received a needle stick injury when he picked up a syringe from the floor of the public toilets next to the Albury Regional Museum.
The boys immediate reaction was to ask his mother, Kathryn Pearson, if he was going to die.
Ms Piper said director of city development Les Tomich had told her to seek legal advice about recovering costs her daughter had lost in staying home to care for Zachary, who had not gone back to school.
She said it was “wonderful” council recognised the need for needle disposal units but said adequate signs and cleaning was also needed.
“If they are putting in receptacles it is also their responsibility to put in signs to warn people there are needles,” Ms Piper said.
“We are not just talking about my grandchilds safety, we are talking about everyones child.”
Ms Piper said she was also disappointed Albury Base Hospital had not given Zachary a hepatitis vaccination.
Ms Piper, a nurse for more than 20 years, said the immunoglobulin injection should have been given within 24 hours of Zachary being stuck with the needle.
“The documents from the hospital didnt say Zac had been given the immunisation, nowhere did it say come back to the hospital and nowhere did it say to contact another hospital,” she said.
Ms Piper said her daughter was given the number of the infectious disease nurse and told to keep in contact with the family GP
Ms Piper said Zachary received the immunisation at Wangaratta District Base Hospital, following confusion with delivery of the injection to Benalla hospital, 79 hours after the needle pricked his thumb.
The Albury Base Hospitals acting general manager Dr Sue Crosdale said that she was personally investigating Zacharys case.
Dr Crosdale said she had|spoken to Ms Piper twice since Zachary was pricked and had arranged to call her on Tuesday when she hoped to have concluded her investigation.
She said her review would look at every aspect of Zacharys case, including hospital policy, to see if there were any aspects which could have been conducted better.
Mr Tomich said it would not be productive to put signs in every location where used needles could be found but council agreed signage on buildings where needle containers were located was a good idea.
Mr Tomich said he was exploring whether government health departments had specific signs which could be used or if council would need to design its own.
He said he had advised Ms Piper she could write to council or seek legal advice to ensure their rights were not being abdicated.
Mr Tomich said there had been no request for council to cover any costs.