By Dave Whitfield - Canmore
Jul 04 2007
A Canmore mother is warning area parents of a nightmarish situation her child has encountered in an area park.
On June 19, Colleen Weatherhog's three-year-old son was playing hide and seek along a path near the Lion's Park playground when he was pricked by a syringe. It's bad enough Weatherhog had to rush her child to the hospital emergency ward; the family must now wait three months before tests will show if her son contracted any diseases from the needle.
The incident occurred at about 6:30 p.m. Weatherhog's daughter was playing soccer, so she and her son, and several other youngsters, visited the park for some playtime. While playing hide and seek along a path that ends up at the tennis court, Weatherhog's son was hiding behind a tree when he called out, 'mom, this poked me'.
Weatherhog found that her son had been poked by a used insulin syringe that must have been lying along the trail. They rushed to the hospital, where the syringe was properly disposed of. Weatherhog, herself a nurse and now a very worried mother, said "there's nothing you can do after it's happened and they won't know anything for three months. Now we have to wait.
"The syringe had a small gauge needle, so there's a little less risk for him, less likely to get something in his blood. There would have been a higher risk with a larger bore. And we don't know how long it was there. The longer the better, because it's less likely there would be anything live in it. But there's nothing you can do right now."
According to Weatherhog, the needle itself can't be checked for infectious diseases like HIV or hepatitis - the family has no choice now but to wait the three months' time for what they hope is a negative report.
"To take it to the hospital, I put it in a plastic water bottle. Even if people are using drugs, they should put them in a plastic bottle so nobody gets hurt. I've talked to other parents about his and people are surprised.
"Parents need to be aware because the risk is there. I had no idea we should say to kids 'don't touch these things' around here. I called the Town and the RCMP and they've said they'll patrol more, but that's difficult because who knows how long it was there?
"People are sick about this. You'd think a park area would be safe for kids and hopefully whoever dropped it will learn something. Whoever's doing drugs isn't having a good life either, but..."