Gaining access when necessary

  • May 24, 2008
  • Bruce Bromley

NewsTribune, LaSalle, Illinois
Monday, May 19, 2008
By Kevin Caufield

Salle resident Jenny Trimmer went to Illinois Valley Community Hospital’s emergency room and found herself in an uncomfortable situation.

A nurse asked her if she could get out of her wheelchair and get on the exam bed. For Trimmer, 43, who has spina bifida and uses a wheelchair, it was an impossible task.

So the nurse and four others picked Trimmer up out of her wheelchair and set her on the bed.

“I would expect a hospital would know how to lift people and not make us feel like we’re putting them out,” Trimmer said. “They had no clue about what to do. It made me feel like there were a lot of people going out of their way to help me when it should have been a lot easier.”

The incident Trimmer described took place about two years ago. But many people with disabilities throughout the Illinois Valley say situations such as Trimmer’s are common at all area hospitals and doctor’s offices.

Area hospital officials, however, say those verbal charges are a bit unfounded and unfair because they have all the equipment necessary to take care of people with particular needs.

Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living is receiving feedback from a survey it conducted recently that asked 275 Illinois Valley residents with disabilities their opinion on accessible medical exam equipment availability in area medical offices and hospitals. IVCIL is a non-profit service and advocacy organization based in La Salle that assists people with disabilities in La Salle, Bureau, Marshall, Putnam and Stark counties.

Dozens of respondents stated they have gone years without medical care because local hospitals and medical care offices do not have proper accessible medical exam equipment to allow them to be examined, and cannot easily find transportation to hospitals in Peoria or Joliet where they say proper equipment exists.