HICKSVILLE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Most of us take for granted that if we need a medical test, we can physically get to it.
Sandra Lamb was left a quadriplegic at age 13 in a diving accident, but doesn’t let much stop her — she drives and works as a tutor.
In July, she was stopped from getting a much-needed medical test.
“I let them know I needed a procedure, and I said, ‘by the way do you have an adjustable table, I’m in a wheelchair,” she told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff.
She was speaking to NRAD — an NYU Langone affiliated radiologic group with nine locations on Long Island — about an ultrasound to check for possible kidney failure. She needs an adjustable height exam table.
“They assured me we are looking into it, we will get back to you — never heard,” she said. “I learned that unfortunately a company as large as NRAD had no accommodations for a wheelchair. No accessibility tables.”
The Americans with Disabilities Act has been in effect for decades.
“NRAD turned her away because she uses a wheelchair. That’s wrong and it’s against the law,” Rebecca Serbin said.
Serbin is with the non-profit group Disability Rights Advocates. She said not all medical providers follow federal requirements for adjustable equipment.
“That lack of accessibility to quality medical care for people with disabilities is a huge issue, and it’s an issue that can have major consequences,” she said.
Barriers to routine screenings can lead to more cancer deaths.
Lamb is now suing NRAD and NYU Langone.
A hospital spokesman was unable to comment because of the litigation.
Meridian Imaging which took over NRAD said it’s aware of the issue and has taken steps to correct it including the purchase of one height adjustable table.
Lamb eventually had the ultrasound done elsewhere, and was relieved to find out after weeks of delays that she is not on the path to kidney failure. She hopes her experience spreads knowledge, awareness, and change.
Adjustable height exam tables can cost thousands of dollars, but federal tax credits are available.