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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, September 10, 2003

Boy injured by used syringe

By Beverly Creamer
Advertiser Staff Writer

State Health Department officials have issued a warning to Waipahu families living near a rubbish-filled city drainage stream off Waipahu Depot Road after a 12-year-old boy was injured Monday by a used medical injector found near the stream.

Families in Waipahu were asked to keep children away from a rubbish-filled drainage stream off Waipahu Depot Road after a 12-year-old was injured by a used medical injector. An emergency sweep yesterday uncovered at least 24 syringes.

Trendon Amuzie, 12, accidentally injected his thumb with the nerve-gas antidote atropine contained in a used medical injector. His sister found the injector near a stream in Waipahu.

Gregory Yamamoto • The Honolulu Advertiser

Waipahu Intermediate seventh-grader Trendon Amuzie was hospitalized for a few hours Monday with a numb left hand after he accidentally injected his thumb with the nerve-gas antidote atropine.

Officials said at least three children played with the device.

The chemical is used for the treatment of asthma, hay fever, colds, Parkinson's disease and gastrointestinal disease. The containers are typical of those carried by soldiers in the field as antidotes for chemical warfare or even bee stings. Doses of as little as 10 milligrams of atropine may be fatal to children, officials said.

Families are being asked to keep children away from the canal area directly behind the Fire Department's maintenance shop, and to be alert to see if other children could have picked up any dangerous used medical paraphernalia.

In an emergency sweep and cleanup yesterday, Health Department officials discovered at least two dozen syringes but no more atropine containers.

"We're asking the public to take proper action and care," said Keith Kawaoka, environmental management program manager with the Health Department's Office of Hazard Evaluation & Emergency Response.

Anyone finding a suspicious container or suspected medical waste can call the department at 586-4249 or 911.

Amuzie's 5-year-old sister, Sable Maltese, discovered the used container near the rubbish-choked stream that dead-ends behind the family's apartment and fills the surrounding area with the stench of garbage.

When she showed it to her brother, he pressed the button at one end and was injected.

"First my thumb went numb and then my hand," said the boy. "I thought I got injected with something lethal." When he told his father, Walter Senegal, they rushed to the hospital, he said. "He was upset and frightened at the same time," the boy said of his father.

Kawaoka said the city will be notified of its responsibility for cleaning up the stream, and so will the private landowner next door whose lot also has dumped garbage.

"When we moved here we were hoping for a nice river in the back yard," Amuzie said. "Instead we got this — a dump."

Reach Beverly Creamer at bcreamer@honoluluadvertiser.com or 525-8013.