‘I stepped on a syringe’ at Gladstone Hospital

The last thing a local man expected to happen when he presented to Gladstone Hospital was to step on an uncapped syringe.

But, unfortunately, he says that was the reality when he presented to the hospital in January as he couldn’t get in to see his GP that day.

The man said after initially being seen by an Emergency Department nurse, he was later taken to a bed in the department for further tests.

This was where things started going “pear shaped”, the man said.

“As I was on diuretics a nurse had difficulty getting blood from me for testing,” the man, who declined to be named, said.

“After seven failed attempts a surgeon was called for, who did an ultrasound of both of my arms to find a vein he was satisfied with.

“The surgeon ended up tapping into a vein in my upper arm, that he said was used as a last resort, with an extra long needle.

“This was despite during every pathology appointment prior and since, the staff have had no problem getting my blood.

“A while after the surgeon obtained sufficient blood I had to go to the toilet, possibly due to the diuretics.”

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Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk inspects the new $42 million Gladstone Hospital emergency department with MP Glenn Butcher and Director of Nursing Sandy Munro.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk inspects the new $42 million Gladstone Hospital emergency department with MP Glenn Butcher and Director of Nursing Sandy Munro.

The man said he asked the nurse where the toilet was and was shocked when he set his foot on the floor to get out of the bed.

“I stepped straight onto a used, uncapped syringe, that stuck into my foot,” he said.

“I couldn’t believe what was happening, in a hospital.

“I didn’t make much of a fuss as I knew that the syringe had been used on me.

“But that’s not the point, this happened in a hospital of all places.”

As time ticked by the man said he remained in the bed and was told about 7pm there was no overnight beds available, so he’d have to return first thing in the morning for further tests.

The nurse proceeded to remove the vessel connected to the man’s vein where they collected blood, gave him a small circular “band aid” type adhesive dressing and told him to put pressure on it for 20 seconds and he would be ok to leave.

“I did what the nurse said for at least 30 seconds, maybe more, then quickly put my shirt on,” the man said.

“As I was walking from the bed out of the ED, blood began spurting out of my arm all over the hospital floor.”

The man said he did not directly blame the people involved, as the hospital seemed to be very short staffed.

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A local man says he stepped on an uncapped syringe at Gladstone Hospital. Picture Rodney Stevens
A local man says he stepped on an uncapped syringe at Gladstone Hospital. Picture Rodney Stevens

Executive Director Gladstone and Rural Services, Central Queensland Hospital and Health Service Sandy Munro said: ‘I can assure the Gladstone community we have great staff working in the Gladstone Hospital Emergency Department delivering great care.

“Our team is amazing and has a proud history of some of the best treatment times in Queensland,” Ms Munro said.

“Emergency is a busy place, and we have hired more staff before and since the opening of

our new state-of-the-art ED.

“We provide additional resources when there is a surge in demand.

“Sometimes complex care requires complex testing which causes waits for results.”

Ms Munro said she was surprised and concerned the man stepped on a used uncapped syringe.

“There are procedures in place for used sharps and I am surprised and concerned about this experience, which will be followed up by our patient safety team,” she said.

“We are always looking to improve our service whenever possible and would be happy to

discuss any patient’s concerns which can be arranged by contacting Gladstone Hospital

Patient Liaison Services who can be contacted on 4976 3200.”

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