Pubdate: Sat, 24 Sep 2016
Source: Kingston Whig-Standard (CN ON)
Copyright: 2016 Sun Media
Author: Steph Crosier
Page: A1


Kingston woman whose daughter was stuck by needle at city park wants
it to be a lesson for all

A Kingston business owner, blogger and mother is warning parents to
talk to their children about discarded needles after her daughter
stuck herself with one earlier this month.

"I've anticipated what happens if they fall from a tree and their arm
hurts, or if they stepped in glass, I've run through that process in
my mind of what I would do … I've thought through all the scenarios in
my head, but this is one that never occurred to me," Natalie George,
mother of four, told the Whig-Standard on Friday morning.

"It has never crossed my mind of what would I do if they found a
needle in the park."

On Sept. 15, George brought her children - Kohen, 9, Ryann, 7,
Scarlett, 4, and Sadie, 2 - to McBurney Park after picking them up
from school on the Thursday afternoon. They usually either play at
their school's playground or McBurney Park before heading home for the

"There's a lot of community kids [at McBurney Park] so we usually go
over there to play," George said. "My kids were off playing, running
around - especially my older two they do their own thing."

While Kohen and Ryann were off doing their own thing, the thing George
never prepared for happened. "[Kohen] came running over to me and said
'Mommy, we found some needles' OK, and then 'Ryann stabbed herself'
What?" George said recalling the conservation with her nine-year-old.
"It took me a minute to even process what had happened. Just 'OK,
Ryann stabbed herself what? Where?' "

Running to Ryann as the girl was on her way to her mother, George
looked at Ryann's hand and couldn't believe it.

"Indeed she had stabbed herself," George said. "By that time there
were several other parents there. I was in shock, and I think a lot of
them were in shock because it isn't something anyone really expected."

The kids had found the two needles, that would have looked similar to
their own toy-doctor kit at home, resting on the cedar chips
underneath a tree. The caps were on, but the kids had taken them off.

George admits though she was calm on the outside, she was panicking on
the inside. She called her husband, Jamin, who drove to the park from
working at their Go Green Baby store on Division Street. He was much
more concerned about the health effects of being stuck and made the
decision to bring Ryann and the syringes, now in a plastic water
bottle, to Hotel Dieu's Children's Outpatient Centre.

At the hospital, Ryann was admitted right away and staff withdrew four
veils of her blood for testing. For a young girl who has had maybe one
cold in her life, George said Ryan, who was "out of it" after the
blood loss, was pretty scared during the process.

"She was excited she got a Popsicle," George said. "That was the first
thing she said to me afterwards."

Jamin was told that it is extremely rare to contract anything from a
used syringe, but staff thanked him for bringing Ryann in.

"We have to go back in a couple weeks, then a month, then a couple
months, they said we should follow up for about six months," George
said. "Right now all they can do is a 'this is where your blood is
right now and then lets see what happens.' It was almost like a marker
blood test."

After the situation calmed down and George had time to reflect, she
realized how little she knew about what to do when something like this
happens. Because part of her business at Go Green Baby is to educate
and support parents, this experience was something she knew she needed
to share. The next day, she wrote a blog about the experience on her

"I thought this is something that could have easily have happened to
anyone," George said. "I've talked to a lot of parents about it in the
interim and a lot of friends have contacted me…. And what I've been
saying is that I was never prepared for that to happen."

George doesn't blame the person who left the capped-needles there. She
said they are clearly in a difficult place in their life and may have
been too intoxicated on whatever substance to find an appropriate
disposal unit. George is now planning to write the City of Kingston
questioning why there aren't more needle disposal units where children

"There are none in McBurney Park," George said. "Within any city there
are lots of drug users and having disposal units would be really
helpful if they were accessible… especially in areas where kids are
playing. They do have [disposal units] at select areas of the city,
but they're not really where kids are and I think that's important."

George's blog can be found at
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