Over the last 12 months, I have needed to go to the local hospital for a number of times for a range of reasons. Many of these times, I had needed to go to the hospital by emergency ambulance and here is where the problem is.
The problem is they refuse to take my wheelchair because of ‘health and safety’. I have 2 wheelchairs, an electric one and a manual one. I can of course understand why they may have a problem with my electric one but my manual chair can be folded down. This chair has travelled around the world with me to found itself in places no chair has been before.
Surely, almost 25 years the enactment of the Disability Discrimination Act, ambulance services would have a way of making their legal duty and transporting wheelchairs since they have been about to find money to find solutions to transport obese people!
The Coventry manager of West Midlands Ambulance Service told me to my face they knew they are breaking the law and plan to remain to do so for the long term. Like racism in the Southern states in American, this is evidence of institutionalised impairmentism.
This is not just a matter of policy but something necessary for a smoother hospital experience. Without a wheelchair, I am stuck in the hospital on a trolley or a bed if I am admitted, neither of which my spastic body gets on well with. Since I find it hard to use an urine bottle, or a bedpan, I am basically functionally double incontinent and reliant on nappies, which is not a nice thing.
My wheelchair allows me to toilet independently as well as feed myself as I can not eat in bed due to posture issues. Also, and while neither the doctors nor nurses ever understood this, my oxygen levels are better than I sit fully upright. The effort of maintaining my posture in bed can be exhausting.
So we must wonder why the ambulance service bean allowed to get away with this for so long? Maybe because it is not a priority for the left wing workshy ‘disabled movement’ who is focused on benefits for all, or the old disability movement, focused on academic rights that have no meaning in the real world as they focus on the UN.
There are very few real impairment activicts with my level of impairment and therefore my experiences of the world, and therefore I am left to fight for things like this alone.
These are the stuff I need to fight for each day and history will show me as the winner.