Needle nightmare for family

A girl faces a six-month wait after being pricked by a used syringe in the underpass on Dean Street near Frenchville Road.
A girl faces a six-month wait after being pricked by a used syringe in the underpass on Dean Street near Frenchville Road. CHRIS ISON

THE parents of an autistic girl face a harrowing six-month wait to discover if she has been infected by a bloody syringe she found in a Rockhampton underpass.

The 13-year-old, who is unable to understand the danger she faces, used the needle to scratch both her legs and to prick herself twice in the arm.

Her distraught mother, who has asked not to be identified, vented her fury with a blistering attack on the drug user who left the syringe in the tunnel beneath Dean Street near the Frenchville Road roundabout.

“Because of your selfish, immoral and unhygienic decision not to properly dispose of the needle for your sordid addiction, your sad life has now seeped into my family home,” she rasped.

“May your next six months of life be filled with the anxiety of the unknown and much more.

“If you wish to waste the life and breath you have been given, then do so by all means, but without risk to others.”

The Frenchville mum said the family would have to wait until January next year to discover if the girl, who has a serious intellectual impairment, has contracted hepatitis or HIV from the needle.

“I've been told that in one in 200 cases, a serious, life-threatening illness is passed on through a needle-stick injury. It will be a stressful six months but there is nothing we can do except wait.”

She said she wanted to put people on the alert.

“This happened very close to our home and at 2 o'clock in the afternoon in an area that is usually very safe,” she said.

The girl is usually closely supervised but had gone for a short walk with her dog when she found the needle.

“The fact of the matter is that we can't be with her 24 hours a day and we are trying to teach her to have some independence, but it makes it so hard when there are such irresponsible people around.”

A spokesman for North Rockhampton police said it was an offence not to dispose of a syringe correctly after it had been used.

“We do make a number of prosecutions throughout the year and the magistrates usually administer large fines,” he said.

“If you see a needle in the street and you are not able to dispose of it in a sharps container you should call the police. We can collect it and deal with it,” he said.

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