(FOX 11) - The city of Santa Monica says what happened here Saturday is "deeply disturbing" and a first in recent memory -- a woman stabbed in the foot by a hypodermic needle by stepping on the hidden hazard. It turns out these needles are in the sand more than you might think!
Last year some 200 syringes and hypodermic needles were found on Los Angeles County Beaches during periodic cleanups according to Heal the Bay 53 were found on Santa Monica beaches and 43 by the pier.
Saturday, by the pier, a woman named Brittany Jones was playing volleyball when she stepped on an inch-long hypodermic needle. She tells FOX 11, "I could tell there was a homeless issue when I entered the beach area which is where I suspect the needle came from, but it never crossed my mind that I could step on a hypodermic needle when simply walking in the sand."
Brittany and her husband Dave say they went to police and also to a UCLA Medical Center Urgent Care where she was placed on what she describes as HIV prevention medication leaving her bedridden.
She tells us, "I am currently on harsh medication treatment for HIV prevention which leaves me nearly bed-ridden for 28 days unable to work and having to wait three to six months to find out if I've contracted any disease from the needle."
Apryl Boyle with Heal the Bay says, "It's really unfortunate. It's really scary.
Although the City of Santa Monica claims it has a robust beach cleaning program each morning using large sifters Boyle says after the cleanup is over anything can happen during the day with so many people on the beach.
Santa Monica Issued a statement saying: "Santa Monica cares immensely for the health and safety of those who enjoy state and county beaches and Saturday's incident involving a beachgoer is deeply disturbing. Based on information readily available, this is the first incident of this kind reported to the City.
Santa Monica is a very popular state beach with millions of visitors each year and the City has an extensive beach maintenance program that involves grooming the beach with heavy equipment every morning, seven days a week. This also includes hand-picking debris at the water's edge and weekly grooming of the volleyball courts.
Santa Monica State Beach is a public space and visitors should be aware of their surroundings. If you see something that looks out of place, immediately alert the LA County Lifeguards and also call the Santa Monica Police Department at 310-458-8474. The sooner we are alerted, the sooner we can respond."
After this happened on Saturday August 4th late in the day, Brittany's husband says he was so upset he tossed the needle in a trash can. Police say they would have liked to have had that. Without it it makes it tough to investigate.