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NEEDLE AGONY; Firefighter blood test worry after dirty syringe stabbing.


A FIREFIGHTER has spoken of his agonising wait to find out if he was infected with a deadly disease after a thug stabbed him with a dirty syringe.

Dave Connolly, from Finglas, Dublin, was taking a patient to hospital when the man suddenly became violent and lunged at him.

He said: "I had to endure several weeks of hell while I waited for my blood test results. It was constantly on my mind.

"I was nervous with my family, worried about using cups or cutlery they might be using. It's an incredibly distressing event for anyone.

"What makes it worse is it's something caused during the course of your work, helping somebody who needed help. That's the reward I got."

Thankfully, the results came back negative.

In June 25-year-old fireman Jonathan Forbes was scarred for life after a despicable bottle attack.

Jonathan was in a fire engine driving through Finglas on the way back from tackling a blaze when a sick yob launched a full beer bottle at his face.

The missile exploded in his face, leaving him with horrific injuries. He has only just returned to work after a two-month lay-off.

The attacks are not isolated and the daily dangers faced by firefighters are detailed in a new book Firecall.

Author Ruari Kavanagh describes how officers at Dublin's Dolphin's Barn station are regularly hit with bottles and stones while fire engines at Tallaght station needed a new windscreen every week because of stone-throwing youths. Firefighter Paul Carolan said attacks on emergency service workers in Ireland are some of the worst in the world.

He added: "The fact we are attacked shows we don't enjoy the same public standing which firefighters do in other countries.

"Our colleagues in the US and Canada do not have the threat of attacks."

In Dolphin's Barn thieves would even ring in hoax 999 calls, then ransack the building when the firemen left.

Firefighter Gerry Sterio said: "We had cases here where we'd actually come back from a call-out and met guys carrying a TV out of the station."

But vicious attacks are not the only testing experiences staff must face.

John Lynch described the moment he delivered a baby in a fire ambulance.

He said: "When we were doing our emergency medical training, eventualities such as this were done with a mannequin in a training room.

"But a live situation at the side of the road with a newborn baby in difficulty and a mum in discomfort who you're barely able to communicate with, is a different matter entirely."

FIRECALL published by Gill & Macmillan is on sale now.


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Copyright 2006 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Sep 11, 2006
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