NEW YORK (CBS 2) — A three-year-old could have HIV after she was accidentally pricked with a needle at a Bronx hospital.
She’s the light of her family’s life, but now three-year-old Hailey Rodriguez is living a nightmare, and so is her mother, reports CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis.
“She doesn’t want to eat, she doesn’t want to play, she can’t be around her friends, because they all think she’s contagious,” Hailey’s mother, Nadia Maklad, said.
They believe she’s contagious because something went horribly wrong when the toddler was at a doctor’s office, part of Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx. Her family said that inside the office, while the doctor was asking the mother questions and the grandmother had gone to the restroom, Hailey reached inside an open, unsecured medical waste bin sitting on the floor – and pricked herself twice.
“She had blood on her stomach and blood on her hand,” Maklad said. “I asked my daughter what happened, and she walked me over to the bin.”
“This should have never been on the floor. These are the kinds of boxes that should be on the wall,” the family’s attorney, Manhattan attorney Susan Karten, said.
Karten said Montefiore was negligent, and now Hailey is suffering. She’s on a cocktail of AZT medication, used to treat HIV, while the other worry is hepatitis. At this point, nothing can be ruled out.
“The cover was not secure, number one; the box was on the floor, number two; and the area where the needle is supposed to be secured and put in – so nobody can put their hand in – was broken,” Karten said.
Within seconds, Hailey was taken out of the doctor’s office and to Montefiore’s emergency room for immediate care. Since then, though, the family’s lawyer hasn’t been so responsive.
“We want an independent, highly qualified infectious disease specialist from another hospital,” Karten said.
That’s something that Montefiore has not provided. Instead, the hospital has given the family one month’s supply of medication, though it could be six months before Hailey’s out of the woods.
The hospital released the following statement: “We’ve been consulting with the family regarding the incident, and working with them to see that appropriate care is provided.”
That has so far included requesting the family come back for follow-ups – follow-ups at the same facility where Hailey was hurt.
“She’s scared of needles now, she doesn’t even want to go to the doctor anymore,” Maklad said.
She has to go somewhere, though, until Hailey and her family know for sure that the dirty needle that pricked her was, in the end, clean.
The next six months will be critical for Hailey. It’s an incubation period where she’ll continue the AZT cocktail and undergo regular testing to see if any tests come up positive.