Mum and son's needle stick injury ordeal

A REDLANDS family have had a terrifying ordeal after a seven-year-old boy stood on a needle in a Redlands car park.

NEEDLE: The needle that Carmel Reekie's 7-year-old son stood on.

NEEDLE: The needle that Carmel Reekie's 7-year-old son stood on.

Mum-of-three Carmel Reekie said she wanted to talk about the incident because she had struggled to get information about how to deal with a needle stick injury.

Redland Hospital facility manager Susan Freiberg said staff would be educated on infection control after the incident.

Ms Reekie said the needle had gone through her son’s shoe and into his foot.

They went immediately to Redland Hospital where – after queuing for 45 minutes and waiting another 30 minutes – they were seen by a doctor.

Ms Reekie said the doctor had asked if she had cleaned the spot where the needle had gone into her son’s foot.

“She said it was fine for us to wash it with the doctor’s hand sanitiser,” Ms Reekie said.

“We said that we didn’t know the procedure for a needle stick injury.

“She said she was pretty sure it was a diabetes needle.”

Ms Reekie said the doctor spoke to her manager and returned saying she would put a numbing lotion on the boy’s foot and return in about 30 minutes.

“It turned out that she was going to take blood but she didn’t tell us that,” Ms Reekie said.

“About 45 minutes later, we went and asked for her.

“After about another 15 minutes a nurse came and said she could take the blood instead of the doctor.”

Ms Reekie said the family was told they could leave and would receive results in a day or two.

She contacted the hospital two days after the incident but could not get any results.

She was referred to different units at Redland Hospital and to the state government.

Four days after the incident she was referred to Redland Hospital’s infections control unit and told the chances of her son contracting anything from the needle were slim.

“It is terrifying to go through something like this and not know what to do,” Ms Reekie said.

“There is information for parents about what to do if kids choke, but nothing about a needle stick injury and we couldn’t find anyone to help us.”

Ms Freiberg said there was an emergency department procedure for managing blood or body fluid exposure, which could occur in a needle stick injury.

“… (The procedure) follows a flow chart for the completion of forms, classification of exposures based on how they were sustained, scanning for immune status and guidelines for further action for high risk cases,” Ms Freiberg said.

She said they acknowledged that better communication could have reduced Mrs Reekie’s stress while awaiting results.

“We apologise that Mrs Reekie was not directly referred to our infection control nurse for the answers and support that she needed.

“Staff education to improve pathways for these types of enquiries will be provided.”

Information on what to do for a needle stick injury is available online here.