PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Much of what Dave Milliren does is by touch and feel.
Dave is blind and he also lost his right leg – both from the devastating effect of diabetes.
“I’m a diabetic,” he said, “I take all of my pills.”
Dave is fine in his apartment. The problem is when he gets outside, in particular the hallway leading to his apartment.
“I was coming here, trying to open up the door and I went over there,” Dave said. “I lost track of where I was. I turned and went right down these steps.”
The 66-year-old tumbled head first down a flight of stairs.
“Hit my head on the wall, down bottom of these steps,” he said.
Dave worries the next fall could be his last and says this could all be avoided with a little help from access van drivers.
“All I would like them to do is take me to my door,” he said.
Here’s the problem: access vans, funded by the county and set up to drive senior citizens and people with disabilities, are just a set of wheels.
So the driver drops Dave off outside the home and that’s it.
“They said their policy is they don’t take you into the building,” said Dave.
The access drivers are not allowed to assist Dave down the hallway.
That’s when KDKA’s Marty Griffin got involved.
Access provided us with a statement saying:
“We simply cannot risk the liability of allowing employees to enter the private homes of customers. We have contacted this individual and are working with him.”
That turned out to be true.
“Consumer don’t know where to turn, don’t know who to ask,” said Mildred Morrison with the Department of Human Services.
Morrison did talk with us and her people stepped up big time to help.
Her people have reached out to Dave.
He’s been offered immediate one-on-one counseling and will be offered in-home help if necessary, including an escort into his apartment if necessary. He may also have a mobility specialist visit his home.
There could even be a security device placed on his stairway with the goal of helping Dave get into his home safely.
“It’s a system made up of humans,” said Morrison. “Every once in a while, we get it wrong. When that happens, don’t get mad, keep asking.”
Dave will put aside his prostration and get on board with the new plan and move on.
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