The Elevator and the Wheelchair / Regina Coyula

The other day in the hospital, after waiting fifteen minutes for an elevator to take my husband to the medical offices on the top floor of the building, a man who was pushing someone I assume was his mother in a wheelchair, was prevented from getting on the elevator although there was ample space, because no wheelchairs are permitted.

We got onto the elevator when it was on its way up and the elevator operator called on the phone so that the person in the wheelchair could be picked up, but the “specialized” elevator was detained on another floor waiting for another patient. On the way down, the elevator stopped once more on the floor where we had been and the “solution” was to stand the patient up and to fold the wheelchair — everything being done as a favor and with the operator’s explanation that she could be reprimanded.

My husband got excited because the reason for a hospital is to care for the infirm and the lady had been waiting for nearly half an hour; he surmised that if the conditions which led to a given policy changed, then the policy also had to change. I was giving him discreet signs — touching him with my foot and jabbing him with my elbow.

The gentleman pushing the his mother’s wheelchair excused the operator, who had left them stranded, and effusively thanked her for agreeing to transport them. The submissiveness of accepting any measure is not merely something of hospitals, but a national syndrome.

Translated by: Maria Montoto

July 14 2012