NEWS

Disabled man trapped without emergency wheelchair repair

07/11/2012 03:21 EDT | Updated 09/10/2012 05:12 EDT
A disabled Vancouver man is asking the B.C. Ministry of Social Development for help after his wheelchair broke last weekend, leaving him stuck in bed, unable to even use a bathroom.

Walter Fedorowycz, 58, says his backup wheelchair broke on Saturday while his other chair was already out for repairs.

"So I've been stuck here ... in bed, unable to move," he said. "So last night, all day long, from the afternoon until night-time, I was lying in my own urine."

The province pays for Fedorowycz's wheelchair under the Health Assistance Branch and repairs are under warranty, but Fedorowycz says the service company isn't required to work weekends and he can't afford to hire anyone else.

"Most places that you phone, you can't get any service ... on weekends," he said.

Disability advocates say the government should step up and pay for 24-hour emergency repairs.

"Everyone, no matter what their income, deserves to have an option so they can have a good quality of life," said Eric Molendyk with the Sam Sullivan Disability Foundation.

The ministry says arrangements around services and repairs are left to the supplier and client to organize, and due to confidentiality, it can't comment on specific cases.

Meanwhile, the wheelchair repair company visited Fedorowycz on Tuesday, saying his chair could get fixed by Wednesday.

But Fedorowycz says the government has let him down.

"The ministry people seem to leave everything up to the company at the moment," he said.

MORE:cbcNews