There are several ways to dispose of a used hypodermic needle, especially after being use to administer a DIY injection of illicit drugs?

This time, its Bangor in North Wales. Described as shocking footage, this video was taken on a drug-blighted estate, prompting calls for action from ‘disgusted’ families in the area

A man squats outside a block of flats in broad daylight and injects himself before casually throwing the needle in bushes.

The shock footage that highlights the scale of the drug problem on a troubled North Wales estate, reports the Daily Post.

The footage, taken through a window at the Plas Glyndwr flats in Bangor, was posted by county councillor Chris O’Neal on Facebook and prompted a huge reaction on social media.

We are told that the needle has since been disposed of by a member of staff from housing association Cartrefi Cymunedol Gwynedd (CCG). We can only hope that all of the others are retrieved and disposed safely, without risk of injury to members of the public or staff.

see also Dundee addict unconscious, trousers down and holding a needle

Woman pictured unconscious, trousers down and holding a needle in a Dundee close. Admits breach of the peace.

A Dundee woman has been pictured unconscious, trousers down and holding a needle in her left hand in a disturbing image that exposed Scotland’s heroin shame.

In Court she admitted her part in the ‘horror episode’. The pair were found in a close in Dundee’s Albert Street, slumped in a corner of the entrance way to a Dundee tenement block in a drug induced stupor.

“The accused was found to be in a state of undress and had her trousers down to her ankles exposing her underwear.

“Witnesses thought she may have fallen down the stairs and approached her.

“They noticed she was holding a hypodermic needle in her hand.

“The matter was reported to police who arrived shortly after.

“The accused was bleeding from the injection site in her groin and an ambulance was called.”

With a 2 month jail sentence for the man and a so-far deferred sentence for the woman who admitted a breach of the peace, the case highlight the real horrors of IV drug abuse at its lowest. It is dangerous for members of the public, for emergency services staff and for those whose task is to clean up drug litter and blood from the scene afterwards.




Bellamy -v- Nottingham City Council

Nottingham County Court, 19th December 2014

C was employed as a Public Realm Operative. As he was working on grounds maintenance at a primary School, he was picking up a pile of ‘brash’ and sustained a needle stick injury to his right hand. He was wearing gloves but the hypodermic needle hidden amongst the material that he picked up with his hands, which he did not see, penetrated the gloves.

The school’s grounds were open at night because there is was a public footpath and so the Council had to ensure that litter and needle sticks were removed every morning before the school opened.

We argued a breach of Regulations 4, 6 and 10 of the PPE regulations, that the gloves were not suitable, the risk assessment was not adequate and the employer had not ensured that the PPE was properly used.

D argued that they had put a safe system in place to deal with the risk and that employees had been instructed that needles were not to be picked up by hand

The judge followed  Threfall v Hull City Council [2011] PIQR P3 (CA) and held that there was no safe system of work which was adequately enforced.  There was no real evidence to suggest that it was disseminated to the workforce or enforced.  The gloves provided were not suitable.  There was no contributory negligence; C could not have reasonably been expected to have  known that he was doing anything wrong.


Baker -v- Birmingham City Council

Birmingham County Court,  26TH January 2015

C’s  was a test case, one of four linked cases all involving needlestick injuries for bin men working for Birmingham City Council. All sustained injuries from needles concealed in black bin bags when they went to pick them up. All were  wearing standard gloves with the lowest puncture resistance of 1 (out of 4) under BS EN388.  The issue was solely whether under the PPE Regs  D should have provided specific anti-needlestick gloves to their bin men.

The Defendant’s denied liability on the basis of practicability. They indicated that anti-needlestick gloves were invariably stiffer and less dextrous than standard gloves and led to increased risk of RSI. They indicated that bin men wouldn’t wear gloves that increased stiffness in any way. They relied on a staff survey they had carried out several years before the accident trying out various gloves on the job.

The survey covered some gloves with increased puncture resistance (up to 2 out of 4 on the EN388 scale) and there were adverse comments from bin men about even that slight increase rendering the gloves too stiff to wear. They also indicated that any gloves would need to be fully waterproof and that many anti-needlestick gloves are not.

Both sides had expert engineers. D’s essential points were that the anti-needlestick gloves were not suitable because they were generally too stiff and could cause RSI.  However, he was not able to point to a single published study linking over use of anti-needlestick gloves to RSI.

We relied on a consulting engineer, Steven Rawden, who tested over 20 gloves with 4 different types of needles. He concluded that the AN gloves provided significantly better protection. He also tried them all on and found that although there was a slight increase in stiffness it would not be a material increase that would cause injury. He recommended ways of achieving  waterproofness.

In giving judgment the judge approached the case as Smith LJ had in Threlfall , considering how Regulation 4 should be applied:

  • What is the risk?  A needlestick injury
  • Was PPE provided to combat risk?  – Yes, gloves with lowest puncture resistance.
  • Was it effective in preventing injury?  No  (and the evidence was that there had been 10 similar injuries that year)
  • Was it impractical to provide effective PPE?

Judge found for us on the final point 4 on two grounds:

The Defendant had the burden of proof on practicability but had not properly pleaded their defence. Although they had listed all the objections to our suggestion that AN gloves should have been provided they had not specifically stated in unequivocal terms that it wasn’t practical to provide alternative gloves. Very harshly the judge indicated that they could not therefore begin to mount a defence of the kind they had run.

However, he also went on to decide that even that had not been the case.

It was not impractical to provide the gloves in any event. Judge preferred the evidence of Mr Rawden over D’s expert on that issue.

Finally, on causation he accepted that AN gloves do not totally avoid the risk but it was sufficient that they significantly reduce it.

SI sites

These are important cases.

Too often, NHS and contract cleaning companies whose staff are engaged in waste management on healthcare premises, waste disposal contractor whose staff are engaged in the collection and treatment of those wastes, and of local authority cleansing staff and other cleaners engaged elsewhere, are poorly provided with suitable equipment and appropriate PPE.

Sharps safety gloves are expensive and waste handlers have complained to me on many occasions that their employers are reluctant to issue replacements too quickly solely on the basis of excess cost.

Elsewhere, employees handling wastes in hospital premises and those engaged in litter picking or drug litter and needle retrieval in the community might be offered a pair of builder’s-type reinforced gloves that are not really suitable, a pair of Marigolds, or disposable nitrile gloves.  That is not acceptable.

In the only study of its kind, we found 40 sharps injuries suffered by waste handlers at a single treatment facility. Though the most common site for injury was the hands – where were the gloves? – sharps injury to legs also featured prominently.

Do your staff have good quality sharps protection gloves, preferably gauntlets, and trousers with ballistic panels?  Have they been properly trained?  Is that training assessed and periodically reinforced?  Are they properly supervised?

If you now answer no to any of these questions, you may have insurmountable and costly problems defending a case brought under PPE regulations.

There is no scope in blaming the waste producer who was responsible for placing that uncapped needle in the thin-walled waste sack that injured your employee. You know this happens and segregation errors are not uncommon. Failing to manage that will be costly.




Contaminated needles and clinical waste found at illegal tattoo studio

As if by some sort of surprise, news reports tell of contaminated needles and clinical waste found at an illegal tattoo studio in Devon.

A Devon council has successfully closed an illegal tattoo shop after environmental health officers discovered contaminated and discarded needles and clinical waste.

Adam Jones, of Winner Street in Paignton, was found guilty of tattooing at an unregistered studio in Church Street, Paignton at Torquay Magistrates Court.

He was fined £1,000, ordered to pay £120 costs and £120 victim surcharge in his absence.

After receiving complaints about the illegal tattoo studio, environmental health officers from Torbay Council went to investigate.

Among the evidence found were contaminated and discarded needles, clinical waste and other tattooing related items.

A council spokesman said people who want to run a legitimate tattoo business must register with the local authority.

He said: “Registered businesses are subjected to regular inspection in order to maintain high hygiene standards. By using an unregistered tattoo studio, the public run the risk of serious infection from poor and unhygienic practices and harm to the wider community.”


Illegal and unlicensed tattooists are apparently quite common, though inevitably most are unknown to regulators. EHO’s will regulate, but first there needs some sort of problem such as inappropriate disposal of wastes causing complaints or, worse, an outbreak of infection. If not, these establishments that may be little more than a bedroom enterprise, are likely to stay hidden.






Some time ago, University College Hospital London initiated a scheme whereby early discharge of patients saw them transferred to a nearby hotel to facilitate on-going care.

It’s a sensible cost-saving measure that is used elsewhere in the UK. It is particularly common in the US where bed costs for hospitalisation can be astronomical and it is there that the medical insurance companies had first developed this approach.

But there are problems. It is reported from the US that at the Wyndham hotel, close by Massachusetts General Hospital and where many patients are transferred for continuing care, are finding worrying large amounts of clinical wastes in guest/patient bedrooms.

Detail of exactly what is found are limited, though the report say they’re being exposed to used syringes, blood, vomit and other bodily fluids while cleaning rooms.  That is of concern, and it would be interesting to know if this is noted more frequently in rooms of ex-hospital guests/patients than in others. Read the rest of this entry »

Just published:

Healthcare Wastes
Blenkharn JI
In, Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences. Elsevier Inc, 2015. 25pp

Available only from Elsevier

Though it would be unthinkable to wish a sharps or needlestick injury on anyone, there is just a hint of poetic justice in the report from the Exeter Express and Echo.

“A DRUG dealer was caught red handed after being seen acting suspiciously in an Exeter supermarket carpark.

Two police officers followed the man behind a set of recycling bins behind Morrisons in Beacon Heath.

They caught the dealer and buyer the heroin and crack cocaine exchange took place. The buyer tried to throw the drugs away but the dealer was found with £100 which had just been paid to purchase five wraps of heroin and two of crack cocaine.

The 42-year old man from Exeter admitted two offences of supplying class A drugs and one of possessing criminal property.

He was jailed and suspended for 18 months and ordered to undertake an intensive drug rehabilitation course by Recorder Mr John Williams at Exeter Crown Court.

His sentence was suspended because the dealer had already started to address his drug problem and had been working well with probation and the police ‘Turnaround’ team.

Police recovered five wraps of heroin and two of cocaine weighing a total of two grams.

Miss Kelly Scrivener, who defended the dealer said he was doing well on a previous probation order but the drug treatment element had ended shortly before this offence and he started using heroin again.

She said: ”He was exploited by his dealer. He was deliberately over supplied and took the drugs and the next day told he owed him money and asked to deliver these drugs for him.”

She said he had been employed at the Gabriel House homeless hostel in the past but been forced to give up his job after suffering a needlestick injury.

The man is now receiving drug rehabilitation and working with the Turnaround team.



So, the addict becomes a dealer, and while working at Gabriel House, the charitable support organisation that delivers an invaluable residential resettlement project for men and couples, aged 18 – 65, who are homeless, suffers a sharps injury.

Gabriel House will, I am sure, have a strict ‘no drugs’ policy. However, in this case someone’s IV drug use resulted in sharps injury to an addict and dealer.

Poetic justice?  Perhaps.

A dramatic example of the complexity and almost inevitable downward spiral and widespread collateral damage caused by drug abuse.



A number of Rotary Clubs in Mongolia and the United States and grant makers, collaborate to purchase locally made sharps containers (biohazard boxes for sharp medical waste) made in Mongolia to meet the World Health Organization’s (WHO) technical specifications.

FIRE (Flagstaff International Relief Effort) distributes the boxes and provides important training to health care workers, waste handlers and inspection agents about the proper use of sharps containers and safe disposal of sharps waste nationwide.  The objective is to substantially reduce the number of needle sticks and lacerations with contaminated needles or other medical sharps waste, inadvertently preventing the spread of blood borne viruses in the health care environment.

To date, 94,000 sharps containers have been distributed to 229 health care facilities throughout six provinces.  That is enough for a two-year supply for every hospital and health care clinic in these six provinces.

Thank you Rotary, FIRE, and all others who have contributed to this invaluable contribution toward improvement in safety and public health.



Sharps injury or needlestick is a constant fear, with the focus being on the possible transmission of HIV or of Hepatitis B or C, and the associated psychological trauma that goes along with the fear of infection.

But there is more than just HIV and Hep B/C to fear, as we have noted previously on the Clinical Waste Discussion Forum.

In the laboratory, handling of a wide variety of pathogenic virus, fungi, bacteria, and others, the unavoidable use of sharps in the laboratory can result in a wide range of sometimes exotic infections.

The US CDC has reported a rare vaccinia virus infection following needlestick injury to a vaccinated lab worker.



South Tyneside council is to scrap domiciliary clinical waste collections.

Announced on their website, the move is no doubt predicated on concerns regarding cost.

As an alternative, households producing sharps wastes are advised to “contact the District Nurse or other healthcare professional who will be able to advise on their correct disposal”.

“Any other medical waste such as dressings, bandages nappies etc. may be placed in your normal refuse bin, but please bag securely beforehand”.

This move will undoubtedly save money, and that is no bad thing. But I wonder what might be the cost of incorrectly disposed wastes, spilling from black bags or slipped into household recyclables that cause health and safety concerns and/or bring picking lines at the recycling hall to a standstill as a sharps bin bobs along the conveyor?

Time will tell if this change in approach will really save money, when viewed as a bigger picture, or just push costs from one budget holder to another?  And in the middle of this there is firstly, that patient who must struggle that little bit harder to manage their wastes – not a problem for many but a likely challenge for the housebound and chronically ill. Can social services – also funded by the local authority – cope with this additional burden?

Secondly, I foresee problems for waste handlers and others working for the local authority refuse services who no longer have the protection of a clear colour-coded warning of the possible hazards associated with these wastes.  The line of reasoning may follow the naïve ideas of the Environment Agency who in its earlier guidance could not foresee ‘any risk of infection associated with clinical wastes from an orthopaedic ward as these patients have a generally low incidence of infection’, ignoring of course the inevitability that individuals with Hepatitis B or C or HIV infection break bones too.  Astounding incompetence from their technical adviser and others who draft this nonsense, that was  quietly withdrawn and redrafted after this was drawn to their attention.

Time will indeed tell if this policy change by South Tyneside will work safely, since that must be the key determinant.  Other local authorities may well follow suit, while the Environment Agency sit quietly and do nothing at this possible risk and potential ‘violation’ of their guidance.

Let us hope there are no serious accidents.




Stuck in wall of motelA woman visiting Portland, Oregon, was greeted by a shocking scene in her motel room: dirty needles stuck in the wall.

She visited the city on April 10, 2015 to attend the Portland Swap Meet at the Expo Center. She booked a room through the website and ended up at the Americas Best Value Inn and Suites in Northeast Portland.

She checked in to room 249 and started videotaping the experience after she discovered what appear to be dirty needles stuck in a wall of the room.

“This is going in to our room. The room appears to be nice. Notice that the beds are messy. Look up close, there’s dirty spots,” Shipman narrates on the video.

“Went to plug my phone into the jack, and looked up, and low and behold, look what we have,” she explained.

She discovered two syringes stuck in the wall like darts.

“One still has stuff in it. This one, you can’t really see from the phone, but there’s blood down the wall, and on the end of the needle”.

It is often not considered how often sharps and associated drug waste, and waste from diabetic blood testing and insulin administration, is discarded in hotel rooms.


Take a look next time you stay in a hotel. Check out the housekeeping cart, and spot the sharps bin. What I have never seen is graspers of other tools including sharps-resistant gloves, and we can only hope that the staff have been properly trained in safe retrieval as much as sharps bin use.

Hotels rely on a high proportion of short term, seasonal and temporary staff. When a sharps injury to a staff member has occurred, it seems not unlikely that a Court will be particularly sympathetic to a claim for damages, and generous with the award since this is now an entirely predictable risk.



Needle with drop of bloodA mum has spoken of her disgust after finding a used needle and splattered blood in an Aberdeen fast food restaurant.

She found the needle, a lighter, and blood on the floor in the disabled toilet in Burger King on Aberdeen’s Union Street.

One can only sympathise with the restaurant chain. What are they to do?  Ban those who look like IV dug users – how can they tell?  Close the toilets?  Install sharps bins?

Whatever action they might take, they will face a barrage of complaint.  Regular checks by cleaning and/or security staff, and properly equipped and trained cleaners is probably the only answer, but without a check after every single users and with locks on the doors even that is flawed.

Needle with drop of bloodWe are all concerned about the risk of sharps or needlestick injury, with the health & safety implications of bloodborne virus and other pathogen transmission, infection and psychological injury, and perhaps a hefty personal injury claim.

But it’s not only we humans who suffer sharps injury from drug litter and discarded needles. Pets too can have problems if the chance to step on a discarded needle and dog owners are being warned to be on their guard for discarded needles in fields.

11-23-12 (2)A Whitley Bay lady had been walking her Golden Retriever Bruin through Churchill Playing Fields in Whitley Bay on Good Friday when he stepped on a hypodermic needle, which went into the pad on his paw.

“I contacted the police and they are coming to collect it, and then raise the issue at a forthcoming forum meeting to warn people of the potential danger. ”She was able to get him to a vets where he was given an injection and antibiotics, but was left with a £112 bill.

Now she is warning others to be on their guard. “Bruin started limping with his paw in the air and his toes curled under.

“I thought it was a golf tee or a rawlplug, but when I started to pull it out, I was shocked to see it was a needle.

She added: “Bruin has been sick a couple of times but now he seems fine.

“I’m now avoiding the field, and taking him in the opposite direction for his walks.

“There is anti-social behaviour in the area at the minute anyway.”

Get well soon, Bruin.




Indiana has seen a significant outbreak of HIV infection among needle-sharing IV drug users.

One primary concern among IV drug users is that declaring their needle use will attract police attention thus driving their habits still further underground. But State officials say more than two dozen people are now taking part in a needle-exchange program aimed at stemming an HIV outbreak in a rural southern Indiana county.

Indiana’s Joint Information Center said that 29 people had participated in Scott County’s needle-exchange program by Thursday. Those participants have received 1,151 clean syringes and returned 437 used ones.

Gov. Mike Pence temporarily waived Indiana’s ban on needle-exchange programs in a March 26 order authorizing one solely for Scott County. The program began there April 4.

Needle-sharing among intravenous drug users has spurred the outbreak, and 106 people had tested positive for HIV by Thursday.

Banning needle exchange schemes seems to be a ludicrous response to a problem that will never go away, but may get far worse without a complete range of public health measures that include the provisions of clean needles and ideally a clean, safe and hygienic injection facility of “shooting gallery” for their use. 


A WARNING notice has been put up at public toilets after drug users started leaving needles in cubicles.

The problem in the toilets behind Buckley Library, which are regularly used by children and elderly people, has prompted Buckley Town Council to put up the notice warning people of the dangers posed by drug paraphernalia.

Council clerk Martin Wright said cleaners were finding needles in cubicles every day for a period a few weeks ago.

The public warning pinned to the entrance door also says the toilets have recently been vandalised.

If there is a problem, blue light illumination is  good start to make the environment unfavourable for injection, and perhaps a secure and properly managed sharps bin too.


A warning notice pinned to the door seems insufficient, driving away legitimate users to create a near derelict and abandoned environment for IV drug users.

That would be counter productive.



From India, meet the man who seems to enjoy sticking over 500 needles into his face….





No comment!



A 16-year-old girl is anxiously awaiting blood test results after sitting on a needle on a bus.

She was on the top deck of the number 24 Brighton and Hove Bus Company vehicle when she was pricked by the needle.

The worried student, from Brighton, East Sussex spent the next four hours in hospital where she was given a hepatitis jab and had blood tests.

Speaking about the incident, she said: ‘My friend and I had got on the bus to go home and we were sat on the top.

‘I suddenly had this shooting pain in the back of my leg. I reached down and pulled out a needle that had snapped in half.

‘Then I looked down the side of the bus seat and there were packets and a syringe on the floor and the rest of the needle.’




Syringe in play box 1A woman was horrified to find a used syringe full of liquid lying on top of a Peppa Pig book in a hospital toy box.

  • Woman, 22, found a used syringe full of liquid in a hospital toy box
  • She posted picture with a caption saying: ‘NHS at its ‘fucking finest’
  • Syringe discovered on top of a Peppa pig book and surrounded by toys
  • Bassetlaw Hospital said syringe had not been disposed properly by staff

The 22-year-old woman found a used syringe full of liquid lying on top of a Peppa Pig book in a hospital toy box after a member of staff did not dispose of it safely.

She posted a picture of the syringe surrounded by children’s toys with a caption saying ‘NHS at its ‘fucking finest’.

The woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said it was ‘shameful behaviour’ from Bassetlaw Hospital in Worksop, Nottinghamshire, and asked ‘how can anyone be so careless?’

Bosses at the hospital investigated the incident and admitted that a member of staff did not dispose of the syringe safely.

Atrocious standards of safety in an NHS hospital resulting in a syringe filled with some, to us, unidentified pharmaceutical product left in the play box on a children’s ward.  It doesn’t often get worse than that!




Tinsulin penwo pupils, 14, expelled after infection scare at public school when 15 pupils were stabbed with needle.

  • Two schoolboys jabbed classmates at a top public school with needle
    Teenagers used a diabetic pen found in a classroom, it was reported
    Needle is usually used to test blood sugar levels for people with diabetes

The pair, both 14, were dismissed from the school in south England after claims they found a used diabetes pen, which normally tests levels of glucose in the blood, belonging to a pupil before attacking their classmates with it.

School authorities alerted the police and public health officials, who recommended that the students be tested for Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and HIV, it is claimed.

They used the needle of the diabetes pen, believed to have been left behind by someone with the condition, which is usually used to test levels of glucose in the blood.

Teachers immediately called the police and public health officials, with affected students undergoing emergency tests.

The police took no further action but the boys were expelled.

A spokesman for the school said: ‘We can confirm that an incident took place at the school last month involving a diabetic testing pen.

‘The incident was extremely concerning and as soon as we became aware of it all parents of pupils involved were contacted immediately and given the advice received from public health experts.

‘While the risk of infection was low or negligible, children affected were advised to have blood tests all of which proved negative.’

Read more:




East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust has informed staff of no less than 40 incidents in the last 3 months when clinical waste was being sent to the laundry, some in clinical waste bags only but mostly in linen bags.

The Trust notes that “this is clearly not trust policy and poses significant health and safety risks to staff involved with laundry processing.

“It is difficult to pin down the wards and departments where this is happening as laundry is not traced beyond the hospital site.

These things happen, when policy is not sufficient and training inadequate. We do not know why it took 40 incidents before action was taken, but at least informing staff to raise awareness if a good first step. However, a robust root and branch review of clinical and other waste management processes and procedures seems overdue.



Viridor brings cyclist safety to London waste fleet

The company has fitted its London-based waste collection vehicles with sideguards and sensors, to help prevent collisions on the road with cyclists.

Viridor has fitted a number of cyclist safety features on the inside and outside of its London waste vehiclesOver 50 rigid vehicles from the Canning Town and Iver South depots have been fitted with a range of measures aimed at minimising potential hazards to road users.

These include side guard bars to protect cyclists from becoming trapped in the space underneath the vehicle, and side scanners that alert drivers to any road users that may be present alongside them.

The ‘ultra-sonic’ scanners issue a bleeping noise inside the cab, helping collection crews ascertain if any cyclists are in the blind spot of one of the six mirrors installed in the vehicles.

External warning devices have also been installed on the vehicles to warn of a planned left hand turn. When the driver activates the left hand turn signal, a verbal warning announcement is repeatedly broadcast outside of the cab to alert cyclists of their intentions.

The investment has cost over £1,000 per vehicle across the Viridor fleet. It follows the past installation of safety features including side-view cameras, cycle safety vision windows and awareness stickers.

Viridor is also trialling 360 degree cameras on two of its vehicles to assess whether this leads to a significant reduction in potential incidents.



By no means exclusive to our central theme of clinical waste management and safety, but nobody can have missed the news of many cyclist deaths crushed under the wheels of trucks, especially in London

Well done Viridor, for making a valuable contribution to cycle safety.

Are your fleet vehicles cycle-safe?









A single mum whose daughter pricked her finger on a blood-stained needle discarded on a bus has spoken of the two month ordeal her family endured before finally getting the all clear.

Terri Hessing’s four-year-old daughter Jessica found the used needle down the side of a seat while travelling on an Arriva SB2 bus in January from Stevenage town centre to her home in Exeter Close.

Terri rushed Jessica to her GP who then referred her to Lister Hospital where she had a blood test four weeks later.

The results checking whether Jessica may have picked up some sort of infection from the needle took more than a month to come back.

“The worrying was awful,” she said. “Not knowing was the real issue. The doctors were satisfied she was low risk but that wasn’t much comfort to me. The stress was complete torture.”

During the tests it was established that the needle was probably use for insulin, which is vital for diabetics to help them regulate the glucose levels in their blood.

But as it was smeared with blood doctors believed it may have been used by a drug addict because they tend to draw blood when they inject.

Terri has three other children and said in addition to the mental strain it has put her family under their finances have had to cope as well.



Not wishing to pour misery on the family’s predicament, I am a little disturbed by the new report that specifies only a 2 month waiting period for an all clear, that realistically might extend for up to 6 months.

Fingers crossed



Two San Diego County men have been charged in a scheme to defraud medical product investors out of more than $4 million to produce an innovative type of syringe.

Matthew Mazur and Carlos Manjarrez were jailed Thursday on 61 counts of grand theft, fraudulent sales of a security, elder abuse and tax violations.

The two men, who pleaded not guilty Friday in San Diego Superior Court, are accused of making misrepresentations, omissions and false statements about U.S. Medical Instruments Inc. national and overseas sales of “SafeSnap” syringes, District Attorney’s Office spokesman Tanya Sierra said.

Potential investors were shown a prototype of the syringe, featuring a needle that would fold up safely into a container for disposal in regular waste rather than as hazardous medical waste. Prosecutors allege the syringes were never made in significant quantity and that most of the investors’ money went to Mazur and Manjarrez, not the company.

“Bilking investors, some of whom are senior citizens, out of millions of dollars of their hard-earned savings is reprehensible,” District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis said in a statement. “Our Economic Crimes Division is working with partner law enforcement agencies to hold these defendants accountable for their crimes.”

The FBI, the state Franchise Tax Board and Oceanside police worked on the case with prosecutors.

Charges against the two men were filed and arrest warrants were issued on Wednesday, Sierra said. They face up to 40 years in prison if convicted of all charges.

Judge David Szumowski set bail for each defendant at $2 million. Defence attorneys had argued for a lower bail, noting that each of the men has ties to the community and is not likely to fail to appear at any upcoming court hearings. Neither of the men has a criminal record.

Earll Pott, who represented Mazur at the arraignment, said he believed that case had been “dramatically overcharged.”

When it comes to making a fast buck at the expense of safety for sharps users and others, these two must be down there at the bottom of the pit. They deserve all they got, and more.

“A man who authorities think dumped vials of blood and used syringes into the Arkansas River was charged Friday in connection with the theft of medical waste from a Tulsa hospital.

“Garrett Gibson, 27, of Ralston was charged in Tulsa County District Court with unlawful possession of controlled drugs with intent to distribute, larceny of controlled drugs and larceny from a structure, court records show.


It remains quite obvious why sharps bins are stolen from hospital premises. The search for syringes and needles is easily satiated, while every now and again they might hit pay dirt and come across a prefilled but only part used syringe containing a narcotic analgesic or other controlled drug.

Clearly, it happens in US, and it still happens in the UK. We make it easy, with clinical waste carts unlocked, left overnight in unsupervised and accessible locations.


Do we store waste with the required security provision? It really is time to repeat the clinical waste survey!









A Limerick hospital porter has received €15,000 compensation after a needlestick injury having been pricked by a syringe as he was removing a bag of rubbish

Leo Fitzgerald, 51, sued the Health Service Executive following the incident at University Maternity Hospital Limerick on June 30, 2009. He told Limerick Circuit Court while on duty he noticed a bag of rubbish which had been left on a corridor near the main lifts.

He described how when he put his hand down to remove the bag, he was pricked by a protruding medical syringe which had been concealed in pair of gloves and placed in the rubbish bag.

“It stuck me in the hand between the fingers,” he said adding that he immediately squeezed the wound and forced out the blood in an attempt to minimise contracting any infections.

Following the incident, Mr Fitzgerald attended the Emergency Department at University Hospital Limerick and was out of work for two months as a result of what happened. During cross examination, Mr Fitzgerald said he was wearing ordinary plastic gloves at the time as he had been dealing with domestic waste from the wards and was not clearing up medical or clinical waste from the operating theatres.

Finding in favour of the plaintiff, Judge James O’Donohue said that the primary cause of the accident was someone putting a sharp object in the wrong place and not into the appropriate container as prescribed.

“He (Mr Fitzgerald) didn’t put it in the bag so it was hardly his fault,” he said.

“There is no getting away from that and this decent hard working man had to go to hospital and undergo treatment and for two months he was faced with considerable anxiety,” he added.

The judge awarded €15,000 in damages ordering that €5,000 be paid out immediately.

Quite right too. The judge’s comments seemed spot on!

What we do not know about is what was done regarding an audit of sharps safety and improvement in sharps safety training, including training in safe disposal. Moreover, we do not know whether the hospital has now introduced safety engineered sharps that may reduce the risk of injury, but which could not protect against the idiot who put a used needle into a rubbish sack.




Needle with drop of bloodDublin City Council paid out some €8.32 million last year in staff and public injury claims.

According to figures released to Councillor Jim O’Callaghan, a total of €11 million has been paid out by the council on compensation claims since 2012, with the bulk of it spent last year.

Most of the money last year was spent paying compensation for claims from the public, with €7.7 million in settlements being paid. The main types of injuries were broken limbs, facial injuries and shoulder and back injuries.

Most of the claims were for broken limbs, facial injuries and shoulder and back injuries. However, the figures also showed an increase in injuries from syringe needles.

32 syringes a day are picked up from Dublin’s streets between the council and a number of groups.

The high numbers of needlestick injuries are of particular concern and bring focus on the provision of personal protection equipment and appropriate training for staff.



Needle crime is on the increase. In the US, a woman threatened with a needle decides to – fight back!

According to a press release, a woman told officers as she was withdrawing money from the ATM at the Conway National Bank branch in Socastee, South Carolina, a man approached her truck’s window, showed her a large needle, and demanded she give him money. She told police he threatened to inject her with the needle.

The woman told police she  pulled out her handgun and stuck it in the suspects face saying “I dare you to stab me!”

Man tries to rob woman at ATM

The suspect said “Are you seriously going do that to me,” and ran off, the report said.

She described the robber as a white man, 20-30 years old with a tattoo on his face and who was wearing blue jeans and a camouflage jacket at the time.




8-year-old stuck by hypodermic needle found on school playground

Needle with drop of bloodEthan Gurr likes to collect “treasures,” according to his mom, but the 8-year-old’s latest find has doctors testing Ethan’s blood to make sure he hasn’t been exposed to HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases.

“I don’t want to say this to be mean, but he’s kind of a packrat,” Katrina Gurr said. “He finds something, discovers it, and he’s got maybe a box or a bag and he’s got his little treasures in there.”

Typically, it’s “cool rocks and things like that,” she added.

“It’s not uncommon to get surprises in the washer,” Ethan’s dad, Mike Gurr, said.

Ethan was walking around the perimeter of the playground Tuesday at East Elementary School when he found something unusual for his collection — a hypodermic needle. The second-grader said he stashed his discovery in his lunchbox for safekeeping.

When Ethan reached into his lunchbox a short time later, the needle poked his finger.

“Then I looked at my finger and it was on my finger,” he said Thursday.

Ethan’s younger sister told their mom after school that Ethan had the needle, Katrina Gurr said, and her son initially tried to get rid of it. She retrieved the needle, though, and began to press her son for information.

“I said, ‘Honey, it’s important that you tell me if you have been poked,'” Katrina Gurr said.

Ethan eventually showed his mom the spot where the needle had pricked his finger, and she took him to the hospital for blood tests. She also contacted the school with her concerns.

“If it is a drug needle, why is it there at the school?” Katrina Gurr said, noting that there appeared to be dried blood around the base of the needle.

Custodians are now required to walk the grounds at East Elementary to check for needles and other hazards, according to Dean Wilson, director of student services for the Duchesne County School District. The practice will soon be in place district-wide, he said.

“We have a secondary and elementary principals training (where) we will go over this as a district, not just leave it to the one school,” Wilson said.

District administrators have asked Roosevelt police to increase patrols around East Elementary, and an assembly will be held Friday to talk to students about safety, Wilson said.

“We’re going to do the best we can to keep our kids safe,” he said.

The Gurrs hope the district’s policy changes — and their decision to share Ethan’s story — will prevent other children from coming into contact with used needles at school and in other public places.

“As safe as you think your children are in a small-town school or anywhere, it’s possible they are being exposed to more than you know,” Katrina Gurr said.

The first round of test results show that Ethan is OK, but doctors won’t know if he is truly in the clear until another round of blood test are run in six months.

“You try not to think about it,” Mike Gurr said, referring to the possibility that his son may have accidentally become infected with a lethal disease, “but it’s hard not to.”

Good luck Ethan




Landowner’s anger as council refuses to remove drugs waste

Christopher Davies found used needles and drug taking equipment on his land in Rhydfelin. He has found used needles and other drug taking material on his land has hit out at the authorities for not helping him.

Christopher Davies, who lives on Heol-Y- Bryn at the top of Rhydfelin, only noticed the “dangerous waste” on his land last weekend.

When he saw there were used needles among the rubbish, he contacted Rhondda Cynon Taf Council to ask them to get rid of the waste, but he said they refused as they said the waste was on private land.

Christopher, 46, said: “I live on the side of Eglwysilan mountain. In the winter, I hardly go on the land but in the summer I usually take my grandchildren up there.

“Last Sunday, my grandchildren noticed there were children playing on the land and as it’s my land, I went up to shoo them off, which is when I noticed a tent and lots of rubbish.

“I’ve since found out from a local farmer that the tent has been there since Christmas.

“When I looked closer at the rubbish, I noticed there were used needles and tin foil and things used to take drugs.

“I didn’t want to touch any of this as it’s contaminated, dangerous waste. So I contacted the council but they won’t help me remove it.

“I pay more than £2,000 a year in council tax and they’re saying there’s nothing they can do. I don’t know what to do with it as I don’t want to touch it because it’s so dangerous.”


In fairness to the Council, they make it abundantly clear that they, as all other Councils, do not accept liability for the removal of drug waste and needles etc from private property.

They may take action against the property owner when it is believed that the public will be at risk, and really should take a rather more pragmatic approach toward needle finds on private residential property where some idiot has tossed a used needle over a garden wall.

However, for private land owners the responsibility for and cost of clearance cannot be passed to the Council or anyone else, at least unless a culprit has been found and a civil claim is successful. Some chance.




A day in the life of America’s low life catalogues a large number of needle incidents.

Here is just a few:

Thief Threatened Pharmacy Employee With Needle, Yelled “I Have AIDS”

A man who police say was caught stealing from a Pharmacy in Staten Island allegedly threatened to stab a store employee with what he said was an AIDS-infected hypodermic needle.

Frank Andolina, 47, allegedly made the threats at a CVS in Richmond Valley after he was caught putting medicine in a black backpack.


Hypodermic needle hidden inside Macy’s Lloyd Center restroom pricks shopper, $10,000 suit says

A 40-year-old shopper who claims he pricked his finger on a used hypodermic needle that was stuffed inside a toilet-seat-cover dispenser at the Lloyd Center Macy’s has filed a $10,000 lawsuit against the store.

Gene J. Summerfield suspects that an intravenous drug user left the needle in the dispenser sometime before he reached for the seat cover during a shopping trip last June 15, according to his attorney.

Summerfield pricked his middle finger on his left hand and sought medical attention, according to his suit filed Tuesday in Multnomah County Circuit Court.

He took prophylactic medication meant to prevent HIV and Hepatitis B and C — and suffered nausea, vomiting, headaches and chills and lived in fear for an extended period that he might contract a serious infectious disease, according to the suit.

Man shot needle at victim with homemade blow gun

Oklahoma City police arrested a 25-year-old man after they said he shot his former co-worker in the butt with a homemade blow gun earlier this month.

Police said the suspect, Justin Pace, had been relieved of his duties at Smith Staffing at 3601 N. May when he started blowing needles out of a straw.

The victim told police he “felt a pinch on his right butt cheek” and found a needle shot 3 inches into his skin.

The victim was sent to the hospital to receive a tetanus shot.


Woman robs Rite-Aid with hypodermic needle

Vermont police say they’ve caught the woman accused of using a hypodermic needle to hold up a store. Investigators say Mary Graves, 29, robbed the Rite-Aid at the Springfield Plaza Monday morning.

They say the Bellows Falls woman threatened to stab the clerk with a used needle unless she got cash. The clerk then handed over the money. Police say multiple tips led them to Graves just after 8 pm Monday.


In Scotland….

Dundee mum says needles ‘still lying around’

The mother of a young girl who was jabbed by a discarded syringe has called for more to be done to deal with drug problems in her area.

Louise Kerr, 37, says nothing has changed since her 10-year-old daughter, Tia Carty, was pricked by a used needle while playing near Americanmuir Road last May.

Tia must wait for up to a year since the event before she learns for sure if she has caught anything from the needle, and her mum says it will happen again unless something is done.

Louise said: “I’ve not seen any evidence anything more is being done to tackle the problem.

“When Tia’s story was first printed, I was given assurances there would be more teams of community workers checking the hotspots for needles.

“This hasn’t been happening as far as I’ve seen. I’m worried the council isn’t interested because it feels it is a battle it can’t win.”


In England….

Southampton Crown Court heard man brandished a syringe at supermarket security guard

SHOPLIFTER produced a hypodermic syringe when challenged by a security guard outside the premises, Southampton Crown Court heard. The drama happened in the car park of Tesco in Wimpson Lane.

Prosecutor Simon Edwards said that Thomas Amos was pursued by the guard, Simon Mulliner, who told him to stop. Amos then pulled out the needle and brandished it, threatening to stab bystanders.

Mr Mulliner shouted ‘Leave him, don’t touch him, he’s got a dirty needle’.

Amos was later arrested.

Judge Nicholas Rowland heard that only two days before the incident, Amos – who had previous convictions for burglary and theft – had been given a community sentence by magistrates.

Amos, 38, of Shelley Road, Totton, admitted threatening a person with an article that had a blade or point. He was jailed for six months.

In mitigation, Charles Cochand said that Amos had panicked after the needle had fallen from a pocket and grabbed it.


And in Australia….

Nervous wait for Lismore needle-stick victim

A lecturer from the Southern Cross University is on an accelerated course of treatment to prevent hepatitis infection after stepping on a discarded syringe.

Tregeagle man Mike Evans trod on the needle as he got out of his car in Lismore’s Kirkland’s Riviera carpark on Monday

Mr Evans said his life was now in limbo as he will have to wait six months to be sure he has not contracted HIV.

“Breaking the news to my wife, well she ended up in tears,” he said. “The shock has now sort of turned to anger, so I’m going through that process of finding out bad news. “Initially I was just annoyed, and then feeling sorry for myself, but now I’m just angry that such thoughtless people are around.”

The Lismore Mayor has called on all needle users to make sure they dispose of their syringes properly.