TACOMA , Wash. -- A Tacoma man fears he was contaminated with an illness after he stepped on the point of a syringe needle outside his home Sunday morning.
“As soon as I stepped down, I felt it instantly,” Robert Bankers said. The point drove straight through Bankers’ slippers and into his right foot.
Bankers and his wife ended up in the emergency room, where he underwent several tests for HIV and other viruses. He is still awaiting the results of those tests. But he is already on several medications, at least two of which treat or prevent HIV.
“If I ever found out who it was, I don’t know what I would do,” Bankers said about whoever dropped the needle. “I’m so scared right now and so nervous.”
But the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department says the risk of contamination is actually extremely low.
“Someone who used that needle would have to have that disease in the first place,” Viral Hepatitis Coordinator Kim Desmarais said. “That disease would have to survive being in the elements. We don’t know how long that needle was there. There are so many things that have to be in place. So I would say it’s not likely at all. There’s such minimal risk.”