Supervisor Serna, who pricked his finger on a discarded hypodermic needle while cleaning up the Parkway, has finished treatment and is fine, which is very good news and a cautionary tale, as reported in the Sacramento Bee.
Last fall, doctors told Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna there was a small chance he’d contract a disease from getting stuck by a discarded hypodermic needle during an American River Parkway cleanup.
That slim chance would end up making Serna feel vulnerable, stressed and compelled to share his ordeal with the public. There were lessons to be learned, he said.
Ten months later, Serna is in good health.
“I’m happy to tell you I have no lasting problems associated with that incident,” he said. “I underwent blood tests since I was stuck that have concluded (there was) no exposure to blood-borne pathogens.”
Serna is hardly the only person known to be pricked unexpectedly by a used, possibly contaminated needle. About 214 people in the Sacramento region sought treatment for such punctures in 2011, health data show.
But as a public official, Serna has a bully pulpit from which he can draw greater attention to the need for rounding up hazardous rubbish along the river parkway.
“I will continue to participate in parkway cleanup efforts,” he said, “and encourage others to do so as well.”
He urged volunteers to exercise caution, wear protective clothing and follow safety directions from cleanup organizers. Preventive measures include wearing closed-toe shoes and thick gloves.
Serna was wearing a leather glove when he and his staff participated last September in the Great American River Clean Up. He was bagging garbage when a syringe penetrated his glove and pricked his right thumb.