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My friend my have contracted HIV at work. She works at Starbucks.

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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:08 PM
Original message
My friend my have contracted HIV at work. She works at Starbucks.
I've been brewing about this for awhile. A young friend of mine was manager of a Starbucks at a location where junkies were known to frequent the bathroom (which Starbucks refuses to lock) in an area of the country with a high rate of HIV infection. She fell on a syringe while taking out the trash and it stuck about an inch and a half into her leg. She took the HIV cocktail for a month, which made her lose a significant amount of weight and kept her vomiting, unable to eat and work. Starbucks made her sign a statement saying she would not sue in exchange for--I believe it was half of her regular pay (minus tips) and treatment. She is too terrified to argue with them because she is 24 and has no family or education to fall back on and she's visibly gay. She told me that they seemed like they were going to fire her, so she made extra sure not to piss off the company. She didn't want to lose her job at a time when she couldn't look for another job because she was sick on HIV meds. She even said it was her fault because she should've been more careful not to trip.

Doctors tell her it'll be three months before she knows for sure if she contracted the virus. They say she's probably okay--the probably of contracting HIV from a single needlesick is low.

Ah, the state of labor in America.
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villager Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:11 PM
Response to Original message
1. Whenever possible, get your coffee at Peet's
And all flippancy aside, here's wishing the best to your friend...
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:20 PM
Response to Reply #1
15. I think that Peet's is owned
by Starbucks?? :shrug:
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:34 PM
Response to Reply #15
25. peet's is not owned by starbucks. nt
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:48 PM
Response to Reply #25
34. THANKS
that's a relief to know! :-)
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kestrel91316 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:47 PM
Response to Reply #15
33. Peet's is owned by Peet. They are a competitor of Starbuck's.
I like them because they are the only coffee place on the right side of the street as I go to work. All the Starbuck's are on the left. Plus, they AREN'T Starbuck's.
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:50 PM
Response to Reply #33
35. I'm not fond of Starbucks
so I'm glad they don't own Peets! :-)
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Prefer Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
2. I hope your friend doesn't contract the virus.
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Bobbieo Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #2
11. How horrible for your friend. I hope she will be okay!
Makes you want to stay home.
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Gormy Cuss Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
3. I've had friends get stuck with needles from HIV pos people and not one became positive
They did the cocktail thing too. It is possible that she contracted the virus, but it's not likely. My best to her.
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Quakerfriend Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:19 PM
Response to Reply #3
12. Ditto. I've known nurses who were got stuck with needles of known
HIV positive patients, and did not contract the virus.

But, hey, Starbucks must realize that there's a whole media story here,no?
Your friend has the upper hand with regards to the media. I mean, who would want to frequent a Starbucks where they might be exposed to bodily fluids of HIV + individuals???
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Evergreen Emerald Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:13 PM
Response to Original message
4. oh that is awful.
Edited on Wed Dec-12-07 09:14 PM by Evergreen Emerald
Boy, if I were her, I would talk to an attorney.
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dflprincess Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:17 PM
Response to Reply #4
9. I was going to suggest an attorney as well
Given the circumstances and the right judge you'd think it could be argued that she signed the agreement under duress and that might make it unenforceable.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:23 PM
Response to Reply #9
18. I don't think she'll get a lawyer unless she contracts the virus.
In fact, I don't think she would know how to go about finding one. Right now she's just saving up for an apartment. I'd have to find her one, most likely.
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Evergreen Emerald Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:44 PM
Response to Reply #18
30. she has already endured some horrific things and fears
There are many personal injury attorneys who work on commission (if they win they take a percentage). This is such an awful thing. If I were her, I would get one asap.
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evlbstrd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:14 PM
Response to Original message
5. Her rights are being violated in so many ways.
She should contact the ACLU, her state attorney general, labor attorney...
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:15 PM
Response to Original message
6. Actually Starbucks should be afraid of HER
Cause she certainly has a case for a negligence lawsuit agaisnt Starbucks...Too bad she signed that waver, there would have been plenty of lawyers willing to take the case Pro Bono. FYI- if her superiors knew that there was a needle threat, then the fact that they didn't get more protection (thicker trash bags etc) makes them liable. Certainly she also should get some sort of workman's comp as well for time missed...
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:26 PM
Response to Reply #6
20. Hah. As manager, it was HER responsibility to devise a plan for safe sharps disposal.
24 years old, no education, no health-care training.

She's just a scared kid trying to keep a roof over her head. I'm not sure she even knows what pro bono means.
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TZ Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:32 PM
Response to Reply #20
24. Mmph
But it is Starbukcs obligation to provide her with the materials and training on how to deal with sharps (OSHA regulations). And it doesn't sound like they did that. What an age, when people in retail need training in bloodborn pathogen/biohazardous waste disposal.
Sure does sound like Starbucks bullied her into thinking this was HER fault. I hope this was reported to the govt as well. Its illegal in my industry (biotech) not to report these incidents....
BTW- she should ALSO get a Hep A and Hep B vaccination, courtesy of Starbucks, as they are also possible pathogens from needles.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 11:51 PM
Response to Reply #24
42. She's a real easy kid to bully. Affable, hard-working, no family, doesn't want trouble.
Really breaks my heart. I'll make sure she gets a vaccination.
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liberal renegade Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:16 PM
Response to Original message
7. she needs a lawyer
the sooner the better!
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Occam Bandage Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:16 PM
Response to Original message
8. Tell her to get a lawyer. That agreement she signed can be thrown out pretty easily,
Edited on Wed Dec-12-07 09:17 PM by Occam Bandage
especially since she was obviously under duress when she signed it. The main reason they force people to sign them is not because they provide actual legal protection, but rather because they can act as a major disincentive to sue. I'd say it would be reasonable for her to recover her full pay, at any rate. If she actually contracted HIV, then you look at a lawsuit.

Now, since she was a manager, was keeping that area clear her responsibility? If so, she has a weaker case, but if Starbucks was aware of a needle problem, it's certainly there fault for not providing for appropriate protection from sharps. I'd still advise getting a lawyer's advice.
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Selatius Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:17 PM
Response to Original message
10. She probably shouldn't have signed anything at that period of time.
Ideally, the contracting parties to an agreement are not under serious stress, as that can impair judgment.
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KharmaTrain Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:19 PM
Response to Original message
13. She Needs To Get An Advocate
The best would be a reporter at a local TV station or newspaper who can both investigate her claims and then publicize them. A single person...especially a young employee has almost no chance when they try to go up against the corporate ladder, thus its good to have someone who is more familiar with both the process and the people.

Hopefully she's documented what's happened to her...dates, time, places, names...so her claims can be substantiated and, if she was wronged, she has a solid case to go after any and all who have caused her harm.

I'd also suggest she talk to an employment lawyer...not a PI one...but one who is familiar with labor law and the liabilities a company would have in both the conditions of the employ and their responsibility in protecting their employees. If her safety was endangered by company policies...even if it doesn't lead to full-blown HIV...she should be able to develop a solid case...what she needs are the right people in her corner...and there are many such good people.
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Liberal In Texas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:19 PM
Response to Original message
14. Sounds like a workers comp case if there ever was one.
Edited on Wed Dec-12-07 09:53 PM by LibInTexas
She needs to see somebody besides her supervisor about this.

I don't know about where you live, but they have ombudsmen here that work for the workers comp commission that are an advocate for the injured worker. She needs good advice. And probably a lawyer.

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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-13-07 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #14
45. I agree. She was also out of work for a month due to illness from the medical cocktail.
She was vomiting her food up for a month. When I saw her again, she'd gone from, I'd say 115 pounds to 90-95. She was skin and bones with black circles under her eyes. Being subjected to that at work alone is disgusting. Especially when its preventable and has nothing to do with your occupation.

When you're in the medical profession it's bad enough. When you're a barrista making $7 an hour with no medical education to protect yourself it's totally absurd.
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Neecy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:21 PM
Response to Original message
16. I agree that she needs a lawyer
That half of her regular pay - is that the company's short term disability insurance? If so, they really aren't anything out of pocket. Long term disability might top her pay up and that's something she should check out. It's ridiculous for her to be at half pay minus tips - how is she living?

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undeterred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:22 PM
Response to Original message
17. Ugh. What a terrible feeling.
So many health care workers go through that. I know a medical student who had a needle stick drawing blood from an HIV positive patient a couple of months before her wedding and it created so much anxiety not knowing if she contracted it or not. But as long as I knew her she didn't.

Every public bathroom should have safety disposal for needles- diabetics and others need a safe place to dispose of needles too.
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Canuckistanian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:25 PM
Response to Original message
19. The odds against contracting HIV from a random needle are huge
Edited on Wed Dec-12-07 09:25 PM by Canuckistanian
I heard an epidemiologist from Ottawa say this just last week.

The odds are much greater of catching Hepatitis C, but even that is rare.
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Raine Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:29 PM
Response to Original message
21. It doesn't seem like
allowing druggies to shoot up in the RR would be good for business. I know I wouldn't want to go there. :scared: Anyway sending positive thoughts to your friend.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 11:48 PM
Response to Reply #21
41. Thank you. Yeah, I know, it's crazy. And it's in an area that is notorious for heroin addicts.
The bathroom is basically one of the worst shooting galleries in Manhattan. I know that Starbucks has an open bathroom policy, but I think they can make an exception.
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xchrom Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
22. she was probably not exposed -- however she does need a lawyer.
she is being abused and starbucks is responsible -- from what you've laid out here.
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nealmhughes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:32 PM
Response to Original message
23. The odds are greater that she did not contract any communicatable disease than did.
If it was only a stick versus actually a reuse, as it seems to have been, then the odds were very, very good that the HIV if it was there was dead. HIV is a relatively fragile virus, and needs to be inside body fluids or the human body to exist.

Here is a good place for info for her:

http://www.sfaf.org/aids101/transmission.html

Air will not "kill" HIV, by itself, what happens is that the fluid on the needle or surface will dry, which will kill the HIV, as it needs a "body fluid" to survive.

Most HIV needle infections are from using needles immediately after another prior to sterilization both inside and outside the syring/needle. That is to say, blood goes into the syringe and then is "recylced" by the next user.

Make sure she had a Western Blot test, and not ELISA. Western Blot is about 99% accurate.

I would say, as an HIV educator, that the odds are greater than not that she got no infection from a needle stick. Now, using a needle and syringe after another person for IV drug use, now that is playing with fire.

Also, have her check out The Body at http://www.thebody.com for a complete discussion on every issue relating to HIV from AIDS to workplace needle pricks.

A bit of counselling is in order for her, the local HIV agency in every city in the USA can help her with that.

Good luck to her.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 11:55 PM
Response to Reply #23
44. Thank you so much! I will show her that site. That's really good to know.
I'm sure it wasn't a reuse, but it was a deep stick, because she tripped and fell into the trashcan hard and the needle was sticking up.
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Q3JR4 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
26. I'm sorry to hear that,
tell you friend that we all wish her luck and good health.

On another note because of Starbuck's union busting tactics I haven't purchased anything from them for months. This just adds more fuel to the fire as far as I'm concerned.

Q3JR4.
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sam sarrha Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:37 PM
Response to Original message
27. she needs to also be tested for hepatitis A, B and C..there is a much greater chance of getting c
Edited on Wed Dec-12-07 09:38 PM by sam sarrha
than AIDS.

HAVE TO DEAL WITH C EARLY
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uppityperson Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 10:39 PM
Response to Reply #27
37. That was going to be my advice, get checked for Hepatitis, and I bet they'll pay for Hep B vaccine
too. Since it was an on the job injury they should pay to get Hep B vaccine series. Hepatitis can live much longer than HIV can, please pass on to get tested too.
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 11:46 PM
Response to Reply #27
39. Thanks, you know. I didn't even think of that. /nt
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rockymountaindem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:37 PM
Response to Original message
28. My advice: call your Congressional rep. or Senator's office
They may have ways to help you or provide information on how to get help. It's not a guarantee, but if you end up filing any kind of forms with the federal government such as with OSHA, it's worth calling their offices. They will have people whose job it is to help constituents in these matters. Even if they can't help, they might direct you to someone who can. It's worth a try. Oh, and be persistent, that's key.
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seriousstan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:39 PM
Response to Original message
29. The odds are that your friend will be OK, but she still should see a lawyer.
I guess drug abuse isn't always a victimless crime.
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I work for workers Donating Member (551 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:45 PM
Response to Original message
31. I though HIV died very quickly when outside the body?
The odds are on her side that she won't get it. Good luck to her.

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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 11:46 PM
Response to Reply #31
38. Not in the dried blood of a syringe from what I understand. /nt
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nealmhughes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-13-07 12:00 AM
Response to Reply #38
46. Once the blood has dried, it is no longer a viable home for HIV.
The blood still in a syringe is exactly what HIV likes: a bodily fluid.

That is the danger from sharing syringes without sterilizing them first: the residual blood that is injected into the syringe when it the syringe is used.

The blood once dried is no longer a host for HIV. Furthermore, HIV must be injected into the bloodstream itself through a syringe, an open sore, or tissue tear, or through the prenatal mother's bloodstream.

Check out the great site http://www.thebody.com

Everything you never or ever wanted to know about HIV is there in plain English and Spanish.
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samplegirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 09:46 PM
Response to Original message
32. Tell her to contact Michael Moore
maybe he can advise her.
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demosincebirth Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 10:38 PM
Response to Original message
36. I think she may fall under state workmans comp. ins.
She should file for State Workmans Comp.
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Swede Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 11:48 PM
Response to Original message
40. I thought I read somewhere that there is a faster test now?
Or am I mistaken?
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readmoreoften Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-12-07 11:52 PM
Response to Reply #40
43. They said it was too early to tell last time I asked her. /nt
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lonestarnot Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-13-07 12:01 AM
Response to Original message
47. For shit sakes why can't people just brew their own coffee?
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BreweryYardRat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-13-07 12:34 AM
Response to Original message
48. I think I'll start going to Einstein Bagels for coffee now.
If I can remember, I will avoid Starbucks from now on. That's fucking depraved -- and I used to like the place for giving/offering? their employees health insurance.

(They don't let you tip with a debit card, either, which is damned aggravating.)
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Recursion Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-13-07 12:39 AM
Response to Original message
49. That's awful... and the drugs are no picnic
I thought the SOP now was not to use the drugs until infection was confirmed, since the drugs themselves are so harmful to the immune system?
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leftofthedial Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Dec-13-07 12:39 AM
Response to Original message
50. that's horrible
it highlights both labor and medical care problems that have moved the USA back to pre-1900 levels of exploitation.


we need FREE, NOT-FOR-PROFIT UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE in the US.

labor needs to rise up and start breaking shit.
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