Disabled vet wants unsafe wheelchair ramp fixed

A veteran says a wheelchair lift he had put in is unsafe.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – A disabled veteran and his landlord are upset because they said contractors installed an unsafe wheelchair lift and damaged property.

The landlord, Joann Sorg, said she had been working to get her tenant, Randy Jones, a wheelchair lift for a couple of months. Jones was in the Marine Corps towards the end of Vietnam and got hurt when he fell off the top of a helicopter. He now has bad arthritis from complications with that fall, and that’s why he was getting the lift that last Thursday.

However, Jones is not satisfied with the job that was done by Home Health Depot, a company contracted by the VA Northern Indiana Health Care System. He said the lift is not sturdy and wiggles when he rides it. He said he even runs into the side of the house when he tries to exit the lift.

“You’re supposed to know your job, do it….but somebody somewhere blew it,” Jones said.

The landlord said workers removed the concrete front steps without her permission and left them sitting in the front yard. In addition, the contractors left nearly a three foot drop off on the porch. She said she was led to believe the lift would be on a concrete slab, but only one corner of Jones’ was fastened to the sidewalk. The rest of the ramp is on bricks which are set in mud. Sorg said she’s worried with Indiana weather that the bricks will sink and make the lift uneven. In fact, after Sunday night’s rain, it had already sunk a bit, and Jones got stuck.

Sorg said the contractors told her the lift was complete and admitted the electrical outlet was in the wrong place but said they were going to put railings up and fix the mailbox. When NewsChannel 15 contacted the company, a spokesperson said he had no comment.

The VA spokesperson said it is working with the contracted company and wants to “provide the highest-quality, safest and most effective health care our Veterans have earned and deserve.”

Sorg said her solution would be to move the lift to the side of the porch, have a concrete slab poured for the base of the lift, and have a concrete slab poured down to the public sidewalk.

The VA will be sending a person out Tuesday to look at the lift, and a spokesperson with the VA said the contracted company will finish the project later in the week.

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