What About Emergency Evacuation?
This is a great article and well-resourced [“The Unfriendly Skies,” December 2017]. One topic that is not discussed (and should be) is emergency evacuation of wheelchair users. Current procedures are based on a study conducted in a B727 in 1977, an airplane that is not in service any longer. In 40 years much has changed — from the number of passengers crammed into airplanes to increasing numbers of people with disabilities enjoying air travel. And aircraft seating configurations today have much less space between rows, making rescue challenging for anyone, irrespective of mobility issues. I hope to raise awareness that current procedures are woefully inadequate for disabled persons to have the same chance to survive an aircraft emergency evacuation. See adapts.org for more information.
I, too, have dealt with an airline crew’s uncaring handling of my wheelchair during my last trip. It was the same situation mentioned in the article [“The Unfriendly Skies”]. I saw the crew member lift my manual chair up and slam it on the conveyer belt. I got so heated I started banging on the window, yelling and cursing. Of course they didn’t hear me, and I also looked like a crazy person to the other passengers, but nobody understands unless it is you. Luckily, nothing was wrong, but it infuriates me because it takes so long to get a repair done. I rely on my wheelchair every day to get around. When someone doesn’t give a crap about their job or others’ belongings, it really pisses me off, especially when they are not held accountable.
My partner works for American Imaging Management (now known as AIM Specialty Health), so I shared your editorial with him [“Waiting for Care, Not Management,” Bully Pulpit, December 2017].
It’s important to recognize why the [health care management] company exists. Yes, of course, insurance companies are trying to minimize their costs. But also be aware that there are doctors who run practices for their profit and not for the care of the patient. Some purchase their own MRI facilities to use as money mills, sending as many patients there as possible for injuries that don’t require this testing. Also, some tests do carry risks, so it is important to be sure that they aren’t done repeatedly or unnecessarily. …
Which isn’t to say I disagree with your main point. Those who do need tests get delayed while dealing with these issues. The great majority of requests do get approval. But the number of requests has gone down by a third since companies like AIM came into being. Like it or not, fraud exists.
Sadly, in the U.S., health care is a for-profit industry, and so the focus is often on dollars more than health. I wish my partner’s job wasn’t necessary, that there was no waste or greed in health care. Ideally, profit should be based upon wellness, not illness, so that everyone’s incentive is on your good health.
Many areas have ALS Association loaner closets that will gratefully accept working power chairs to lend to PALS [“Safe Disposal of Unwanted Items,” Everyday Advocacy, December 2017]. Also, Hoyer lifts and manual chairs as well. Check out www.alsa.org/community/chapters.
Will Miss Tiffiny Carlson
So sorry to hear that Tiffiny is no longer doing SCI Life. I always look for it when reading my copy of NM. Say it ain’t so!
Correction: In January’s “Leaning into the Ogo” story, information concerning sales and support should read: For inquiries, demos, sales and support, Ogo has an expanding network of Ogo agents, including Living Spinal. All are listed on ogotechnology.com under Agents.