Disabled man spends days in bed due to broken equipment
WEST WARWICK, R.I. —
It's difficult for Beth Dennis to talk about what her 24-year-old son Bobby, who has muscular dystrophy, has gone through this week.
"We have done everything to keep everything to keep him home and happy, and we just hit road blocks every time I make a phone call," she said.
On Saturday, Bobby's electronic lift that helps him get in and out of bed broke, leaving him bedridden. So, Bobby couldn't use the bathroom for four full days.
"It's bad enough that he has muscular dystrophy. I know he's going to die someday, but when he can't get the equipment he needs it makes it worse," Beth Dennis said.
It started Saturday with multiple phone calls, first to her insurance, then to the lift company, then to Bobby's caseworker with the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. No one called her back until Monday morning. A temporary lift wasn't put in place until Tuesday afternoon.
"It was horrible to sit there and not be able to go to the bathroom. No answers, they just pass the buck," said Darrell Dennis, Bobby's father.
It didn't always used to be this way.
Bobby used to be enrolled in the Katie Beckett program, designed to help young children get services they need. While he was there, the Dennis's said they never had any issues.
He has since aged out of the program.
"They made sure Bobby had everything he needed. We never had to call them. He had everything he needed. When he became an adult, it's like everything left," Darrell Dennis said.
It's as much credit to the Katie Beckett program as it is concern for adults running into road blocks in Rhode Island. The Dennises said it isn't even about money, it's about communication, and it's tearing their family apart.
"Men like Bobby and other people with disabilities shouldn't have to go through this. The emotional pain my wife suffers are mostly since he became an adult," Darrell Dennis said.
A representative of the Executive Office of Health and Human Services told NBC 10 that the Dennises's problem could be an issue of the family reaching out to the wrong people for help. The office vowed to connect with the Dennis family to clear up any miscommunication.