Fam­i­lies’ sy­ringe night­mare

Kids play­ing at Gin Gin Show­grounds touch nee­dle ‘on the pointy end’

Isis Town and Country - - Kolan News -

A FUN, so­cial af­ter­noon out turned into a night­mare for two fam­i­lies when their chil­dren were pricked with a used nee­dle at the Gin Gin Show­grounds at the week­end.

Tammy and Nigel Ni­chol­son and Tahirih and Ryan McLeod at­tended a pri­vate func­tion at the bar­be­cue area in the show­grounds with their chil­dren on Sun­day when the in­ci­dent oc­curred.

About 12 to 15 chil­dren aged be­tween one to eight years were play­ing around the bar­be­cue area and the nearby an­i­mal nurs­ery area that is un­der re­con­struc­tion.

“We had told them to stay away from the area but kids are kids and a replica barn­yard is ex­cit­ing for them,” Mrs Ni­chol­son said.

“Next thing I knew my son is walk­ing over to me with a sy­ringe and nee­dle in his hand.”

Mrs Ni­chol­son said her son Harry, aged 5, and Mrs McLeod’s son Jack, aged 3, both ad­mit­ted to touch­ing the nee­dle “on the pointy end”.

“As soon as Harry said that, we raced them to hos­pi­tal where staff thor­oughly washed and ster­ilised the boys’ hands, took blood sam­ples for testing and told us Hep­ati­tis C would be the big­gest con­cern.”

Both fam­i­lies will have to wait an ag­o­nis­ing six months for fi­nal re­sults be­fore they can get the all clear, with ini­tial blood tests taken on Sun­day night and fur­ther blood tests re­quired at three and six months.

Mrs Ni­chol­son said both fam­i­lies spoke with the care­taker of the Gin Gin Show­grounds on Mon­day, who ac­knowl­edged he had pre­vi­ously found nee­dles in the grand­stand area and never re­ported it to the coun­cil but in­stalled more light­ing to de­ter peo­ple.

“We also spoke to a vol­un­teer who was re­build­ing the an­i­mal nurs­ery who said he had been find­ing and dis­pos­ing of nee­dles in the en­clo­sure but un­for­tu­nately had not passed on in­for­ma­tion to au­thor­i­ties,” Mrs Ni­chol­son said.

“It baf­fles me that this sit­u­a­tion has been on­go­ing and no one has been do­ing any­thing about it – I feel like this sit­u­a­tion could have been avoided al­to­gether.”

Mrs Ni­chol­son and Mrs McLeod met di­vi­sional rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cr Wayne Honor and a work­place health and safety of­fi­cer from the Bund­aberg Re­gional Coun­cil yes­ter­day to re­port the in­ci­dent.

“The Gin Gin Show­grounds is un­der the con­trol of the lo­cal Gin Gin Show So­ci­ety and is not a coun­cil fa­cil­ity,” Cr Honor told the News Mail.

“Coun­cil is only re­spon­si­ble for the on­go­ing ma­jor main­te­nance to the toi­let block, not its regular clean­ing. We nonethe­less have a con­cern for the wel­fare of our com­mu­nity,” Cr Honor said.

He said he was out­raged that com­mu­nity mem­bers were ex­posed to health risks through th­ese crim­i­nal acts.

“In­ci­dents such as th­ese also put at risk coun­cil work­ers who ser­vice th­ese lo­ca­tions in the nor­mal course of their work­ing day.

“It is sim­ply a hideous thing to do to leave th­ese ob­jects lay­ing around.”

He said sharps bins were kept on site at an ap­pro­pri­ate height to en­sure young chil­dren do not at­tempt to ex­plore the con­tents of the bins.

The bins are ap­pro­pri­ately iden­ti­fi­able to adults who would be the de­mo­graphic us­ing the dis­posal re­cep­ta­cles.

Both Mrs Ni­chol­son and Mrs McLeod said the whole or­deal had been an emo­tional roller­coaster ride.

“This is some­thing you would never want your chil­dren to go through. It is a par­ent’s worst night­mare,” both moth­ers said.

“We want to get the word out there so other fam­i­lies can be made aware that there are on­go­ing prob­lems in this area and hope­fully some­thing will be done about it by the nec­es­sary au­thor­i­ties.”

The Gin Gin Show So­ci­ety was con­tacted by the News Mail but de­clined to com­ment.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

KIDS ARE KIDS: Harry Ni­chol­son and Jack McLeod were pricked by a used nee­dle at the Gin Gin Show­grounds at the week­end and will un­dergo months of testing.

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