Reporting Jamie Yuccas
MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Family vacations come with lots of memories, but as Cynthia McCollough was a flight home from Rome, she had an experience she’d like to forget.
While throwing away some trash, she was pricked with a discarded needle.
“Towards the end of the flight, I was cleaning up my area, making sure I had all my stuff. And I reached into the seat pocket in front of me, and I was poked by a medical needle,” she said.
A WCCO-TV photographer, who happened to be on the flight, took the below photo of the needle.
“It stayed in, so I pulled it out of my thumb and went, ‘OK, this is not good.’”
McCollough went to her doctor Monday to have blood work done. She brought the needle, which is quite small, to be inspected.
“I did my quick internet search [Monday] when i got up, and Hepatitis b, c and HIV are the big things that they worry about,” she said.
She noted that the risk of getting any of those diseases is anywhere from a few percent to a fraction of a percent.
A Delta spokesperson said that Delta moved aggressively to take action and will be contacting McCollough again. Delta does ask passengers using medical needles to dispose of them in bins provided on the plane.
While she’s remaining calm about the situation, McCollough says she’s concerned about the condition of the plane.
“The side was broken, the seat back was broken, and actually some child’s Matchbox toy lost in the crack down there,” she said.
Delta said that after each flight the crew picks up things off the floor and checks the seat backs. If nothing is found out of the ordinary, the crew moves on. Delta planes go through a deep clean twice a year.
McCollough will not get the results of her blood test immediately, and she will have to be tested every three months for a year to make sure she doesn’t have Hepatitis C or HIV.
McCollough said she isn’t planning to take legal action, but she hopes Delta will start cleaning its planes more often.