Woman, Baby Shot By Boyfriend Who Claims She Gave Him AIDS, Police Say
BALTIMORE (AP) _ Officers and emergency workers who responded after an AIDS-stricken baby and her mother were shot face little risk of contracting the disease, as some of them fear, a medical official says.
Four police officers, five firefighters and an ambulance medic were exposed to the two after the shooting Saturday. Authorities allege a 23-year-old man shot the baby and the woman, his girlfriend, because he believed the woman gave him AIDS.
Derrik Lawrence Bradley was being held Thursday in lieu of $125,000 bail on attempted murder and handgun charges in the case. Police spokesman Dennis S. Hill said Bradley told the arresting officer, ″I did it. I shot her because she gave me AIDS and I have nothing to lose.″
Neither police nor City Jail officials knew Thursday whether Bradley actually has acquired immune deficiency syndrome or whether tests had been conducted. The virus destroys the body’s ability to defend itself against disease.
Tests confirmed the 7-month-girl has AIDS and her 19-year-old mother is carrying the virus but does not have the disease, said Paul Umansky, director of community relations at Sinai Hospital.
Umansky said the woman was released after treatment for gunshot wounds to the left arm, left hand, left hip and right foot. He said the baby, shot once in the left arm, was in stable condition suffering from pneumosystis pneumonia, a lung infection typical of AIDS patients.
The baby previously was treated for AIDS at University of Maryland Hospital. ″The prognosis is that she may have anywhere from several months to two years to live,″ Umansky said.
Emergency workers who carried the bleeding woman and child to ambulances told The Baltimore Evening Sun they are worried about their health because blood contaminated with the virus can spread the disease.
″We didn’t even know about the AIDS until we were a block away from the hospital,″ fire Lt. John Petrovic told the newspaper. ″The uncle told us. He was in the ambulance with us ... and we said, ’Oh God, now we’re in trouble.‴
Policemen were told at the scene by the mother, said Lt. George Immler.
Their risk of infection is extremely slight, a medical official told The Evening Sun.
″It’s an exceedingly small, but nevertheless definable risk ... far less than 1 percent,″ said Dr. Andrew R. Mayrer, head of the division of infectious diseases at Sinai Hospital and a professor at Johns Hopkins Hospital.
Hill said the four police officers ″had contact or were present″ with the woman and baby, but ″there was no transfer of (bodily) fluids.″ Hill said the possible AIDS exposure would be recorded on the officers’ personnel records.
The head of emergency personnel for the Fire Department, Capt. John Johnson, said his staff is in frequent contact with infectious patients, and the department urges members to use masks, gloves and similar protective gear when handling patients.
Petrovic said no one wore gloves or masks in this incident.