May 25 2013 Latest news:
by Aimee Brannen
Thursday, March 8, 2012
A Crouch End woman paralysed in an operation has been left trapped on the top floor of her home for more than nine days because her wheelchair supplier has failed to fix it.
Janet Grace, 51, who is crippled from the waist down and on one side, needs an electric wheelchair to collect her from the bottom of her stair lift at her home in New Orleans Walk, off Hornsey Lane, Crouch End.
But a new chair she received in November has broken down several times and has now left her stranded upstairs, unable to cook or socialise with friends, since February 27.
The mother-of-two, who uses her one functioning arm and slight movement in her left foot to get to the top of the stairs in a manual wheelchair, said: “I’m very independent; I cook for myself, get out and about and I try to do as much as possible.
“But this has just left me stuck upstairs, having to cancel everything I was going to do and sitting here relying on takeaways and my carers when I should be able to get downstairs and cook for myself.”
Ms Grace, who was paralysed when surgery for decompression of the spine in 1999 went wrong, added: “It’s so demoralising, I’m really stressed out and I’ve had my independence taken away from me. I’m quite vocal and have been on the phone trying to lodge complaints but everyday it’s a battle; I feel like a second-class citizen.”
When the wheelchair broke last week a mechanic said it needed a new motor on one side. It took a week to arrive, but when it was fitted on Monday the mechanic told her it needed a second new motor on the other side - which was out of stock.
Even when the chair is repaired, the former social worker said she no longer feels safe in her home or out and about due to fears it will break again.
A spokeswoman for the wheelchair’s supplier Camden Provider Services, which falls under the umbrella of the Camden and North West London (CNWL) NHS Foundation Trust, said it had been in close contact with Ms Grace but would not comment further due to “patient confidentiality”. She added: “The welfare of our patients is, and continues to be, our top priority.” Ms Grace is pursuing legal action as a result of the hospital operation.