ANXIOUS mum Annabel Parkinson is facing an agonising wait to find out if her two-year-old daughter Siann has been infected with HIV after being stabbed by a discarded hypodermic needle.
A morning walk in King’s Park, Boscombe, turned into a nightmare for Annabel, 25, after Siann rolled down a hill near the cricket pavilion, landing on the needle, while playing with the family’s Staffordshire terrier Jessie.
Annabel said: “One moment Siann was playing happily, throwing a ball for Jessie in the park, the next we were rushing to hospital.
“She shouted out and I could see the needle in her hand. I thought she had picked it up but then I noticed blood on her right thigh and realised she had pulled it out of her leg.
“When I looked closer I could see that she had stabbed herself and also been scratched by the needle. I was horrified.”
Annabel, who lives in nearby Ashley Road, rushed home and her mother Kit took them to the Royal Bournemouth Hospital last Friday.
She said: “We were seen within five minutes; Siann had a Hepatitis B injection and a blood test but we were told we would have to come back in June and July to have more injections and blood tests. It’s only when they can compare the three blood tests that they can say, for definite, whether Siann has contracted HIV.
“I’ve lived in Boscombe all my life, King’s Park is on our doorstep but there’s no way I will ever take her back there.
“It’s a public park and lots of children play.
“But it is also somewhere drunks and, obviously, drug addicts congregate; something should be done to ensure that families are safe. I am very angry and want to warn other parents of the dangers.”
Hairdresser Annabel added: “For me, the waiting is the worst part. It will be months before I know for certain whether Siann is okay. The risk that she has been infected with HIV is small but it’s like there is a big, black cloud hanging over us.”
Bournemouth borough council’s parks manager Andy McDonald said: “We are appalled that an individual could dispose of their waste so irresponsibly, causing injury and distress to a young child and her family.
“King’s Park is inspected and cleaned on a daily basis and it is a rare occurrence to receive a report of a discarded needle being found in the area.”
A Dorset police spokeswoman said an investigation had been launched and patrols would be stepped up in the area.
She added: “An officer has been in contact with the lady who reported finding the needle and also spoken to the local authority about a clean-up of the area.”
What the readers said
• Dog walker Julia Blomley, 63, who lives nearby, said: “I’m not surprised by what has happened.
“A lot of drinkers congregate here on the benches. Who knows what else they are getting up to.”
• Chad Cummerson, 16, was with his seven-year-old brother Ricky and their dog. He said: “I don’t let Ricky on the grassy area – we stick to the footpaths.
“It’s disgusting that this can happen in a public park.”
• Tim Wright, 51, who lives locally, said: “I’m surprised. I use the park a lot. I like to relax here and have always felt safe.
“There is a problem with drunks but I’ve never seen any evidence of drug use.”
• Nigel Damon, 52, from Thistlebarrow Road, said: “I’ve seen needles in the bushes and silver paper – probably used to wrap drugs.
“The area should be cleaned up to ensure that any danger to children is disposed of.”