Today Metro ran a story about four people being stuck by hypodermic needles on local beaches in the past three weeks. And this morning the paper was contacted by a woman who said her son was stabbed by a needle this week as well.
Little Gerard McManus was walking in the sand on Tuesday, July 24 after enjoying an afternoon at 104th Street beach in the Rockaways. That's when he was jabbed in the foot by a syringe embedded in the sand.
“I just stepped on a needle,” the nine-year-old told his mother, Eileen McManus. Though there wasn’t any blood, his foot had been punctured by the sandy needle and needed immediate attention, Eileen told Metro today.
“I took him to the lifeguard who bandaged his foot so we could take him to the hospital,” said McManus, 52, adding that the lifeguard told her it had been the third needle stabbing that day.
Because the nearest hospital was closed McManus drove her terrified son to South Nassau Hospital, a forty-minute drive away.
There, Gerard was given an X-ray and referred to an infectious disease specialist for blood testing.
“They’re not worried about HIV so much, but we do have to worry about hepatitis all because we weren’t even aware that this was a problem,” McManus said.
Gerard is going to be on antibiotics for the next 10 days, and will need to return for follow-up tests in one month, and again in three months.
“Nobody in Rockaway knew this was happening. How come we weren’t advised of this?,” said McManus, a homemaker who lives across the street from the beach. “We’re out here every day playing in the sand, sliding around, and it scares me.”
“[The parks department] is complaining about budget cuts but I see guys riding around checking the beaches on a jeep. They should be out of the jeep, really checking the sand,” said McManus.
While the mother of three said she won’t be discouraged from returning to the beach, McManus told Metro that after hearing about all the other incidents she will start checking the sand before she lets her kids play in it.
“I thought my son was an isolated incident,” said McManus. “Obviously not.”