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Wheelchair ran me off a cliff...

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tomato_soz
tomato_soz Community member Posts: 21 Connected

...sort of.

Good afternoon

Long time lurker here. I'm wondering if anyone has any advice or experience of this happening:

I use an invacare mirage powered wheelchair. It's an NHS wheelchair services chair and they now use a company called Rosscare to service them. They keep not showing up but my chair has had a fault for YEARS.

One night, the joystick panel exploded outwards (see picture) while it was charging. The plastic is melted/bulging outwards and cracked in places. The 'retaining ring' of plastic that fits around the rubbery bit on the joystick pinged off and broke into lots of little pieces. Someone came out to look at it but they were very unsociable and ignored me when I was explaining the problem. As they weren't allowed inside due to their policy, and they had a mask on, this gave them a bit of an excuse to be rude to me I think. They took the chair outside my house then wheeled it in saying it was fixed. They hadn't repaired the controls. Just replaced the wheels that were bald.

It seemed to be working OK so I assumed they had checked it over. Wrong. Ever since the fault, whenever I move forwards I have to reverse to the chair slightly to get it to stop moving or it continues to move at the speed I was at before stopping. That's fine if I have slowed down to stop. Today I took my dog for a run and was bobbing along. Unfortunately something spooked him and I had to stop suddenly but I was going at full speed and the chair wouldn't stop. I managed to swerve away from my dog and went down a verge and got stuck in a bush and a load of nettles. My toes are broken from the chair crushing me before the brakes engaged. The people in the nearby garden just laughed at me. I don't know what I was expecting... I can see the funny side of it now.

The problem I'm having is I have no spare attendant chair as my last one was ten years old and rusted due to never being used. I now have no means of moving around as my chair is stuck in moving forwards unless switched on - which means it now won't switch on as it's flashing thinking that somethings snagged the joystick. I've called Ross Care and got no answer. They wouldn't let me make a complaint last week abojt their engineer lying about coming to my house (I have external CCTV that proves he didn't) and said that there is no way to do that. I checked their site and it says they have a complaints policy.

Do I complain to wheelchair services or directly to Ross Care? Ideally I would like the ombudsman involved if they don't fix it soon. Broken toes can't be dealt with at hospital either so now I'm going to have mangled toes forever - I know because I've broken one on my other foot and there's nothing that can be done. No sandals for me!

Please tell me your wheelchair accidents so I don't feel silly on my own! Also ignore the state of my chair- the chair, myself and my belongings are all covered in hedge/dusty mud. I had twigs in my hair like something from a comedy sketch. Also whose fault is this? Theirs for not fixing it or mine for using the chair knowing it's broken? I'm worried I'll be in trouble.

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  • Albus_Scope
    Albus_Scope Posts: 5,709 Championing
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    Heya @tomato_soz and an official welcome to the community!

    It's great you've come out of lurker mode, but I'm sorry to hear about your wheelchair issues, that must be a total pain! Unfortunately I don't have any pearls of wisdom, but I just wanted to stop in and say hi. I hope someone can help soon.

    Albus (he/him)

    Online Community Coordinator @ Scope

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  • WhatThe
    WhatThe Community member, Scope Member Posts: 1,305 Championing
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    Laughing as my daughter used to complain about the sofa throwing her on the floor when she slid off with the blanket!

  • Happy2222
    Happy2222 Community member Posts: 3 Listener
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    No help whatsoever but FLIPPIN HECK .… your account of the out-of-control-wheelchaur sounds funny but also bloomin frightening!

  • tomato_soz
    tomato_soz Community member Posts: 21 Connected
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    Haha not quite the same, though that's cute. My wheelchair was the one controlling me on this occasion. It was finally fixed but not before it ran over the repair guy. I don't think he believed me. It was like the car from Christine. Faulty control panel from water getting in!

  • tomato_soz
    tomato_soz Community member Posts: 21 Connected
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    Yeah it was! Thankfully it's fixed. Repair guy came round and was moving it back and forth to test it. Then it lurched forward and nearly pinned him. It wasn't very nice but I'm glad he saw it for himself as I think before that they thought I was exaggerating! It's fine now but I won't be ignoring a repair ever again. I think I'm very lucky it was just a bush. There is a Me shaped hole that my kids point out every time now. We've planted one of the cuttings I accidentally brought home stuck to my coat 😄

  • Jimm_Scope
    Jimm_Scope Posts: 3,702 Championing
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    It sounds like it'll be a fun story to tell in the future, and you'll have the cutting to show for it! Glad it all worked out in the end, and though you still broke some toes at least it wasn't more serious.

    They/Them, however there are no 'wrong' pronouns with me so whatever you feel most comfortable with
    Online Community Specialist

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