12-year-old girl steps on hypodermic needle during camp at Medford park

MEDFORD, Ore. – A 12-year-old girl was taken to the hospital after stepping on a hypodermic needle in the grass adjacent to the Fichtner-Mainwaring Park sand volleyball courts Tuesday morning.

According to the city, the child was participating in Medford Parks and Recreation summer camp.

At the hospital she underwent a variety of precautionary testing and luckily no communicable diseases were found.

According to the child’s parent, “this has been an experience no child should have to go through. After an afternoon spent in the Emergency Room we were relieved to find out our daughter tested negative for communicable diseases. However, she will need to be tested again in six weeks and again in four months. We won’t know the results for some time. Our daughter is a healthy and happy almost seventh grader. Until yesterday, she saw the world through rose colored glasses. It’s devastating to think her future could be impacted by a drug user’s careless actions. We hope that this incident inspires awareness around this important and complicated issue.”

The City of Medford says despite efforts to keep parks clean and safe, this situation puts a spotlight on the ongoing challenges the community faces when it comes to drug addiction and the associated hazards.

Daily visual inspections are conducted by parks maintenance staff to ensure safety at local playgrounds and recreation areas. But the city calls the task challenging due to the over 2,500 acres of Medford’s park system coupled with “high volumes of trash and chronic vandalism.”

“We never want to see people injured while visiting our parks or participating in recreation programs,” Medford Parks and Recreation Director Rich Rosenthal said. “We are working closely with the family to ensure they have the resources and assistance they need. This is a particularly concerning situation because of the public health hazard presented by needles and other drug paraphernalia. Along with our Medford police partners, ensuring the safety and well-being of our community is our top priority, and we’re doing what we can to prevent these types of situations.”

The need for more safety measures at city parks was among the top concerns voice by citizens earlier this year during a survey by the Parks and Recreation Department.

Another top item was safety along the Greenway.

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NBC5 News Reporter Lauren Pretto grew up in Livermore, California and attended University of California, Santa Cruz, graduating with a double major in Film/Digital Media and Literature with a concentration in Creative Writing. Lauren is a lover of books, especially Agatha Christie and Gothic novels. When her nose isn't buried in a book, she knits, bakes, and writes.
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