7 On Your Side: Disabled woman stranded 9 months without working wheelchair

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Friday, October 14, 2022
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A disabled woman was stranded at home for nine months without a working wheelchair until Nina Pineda and 7 On Your Side stepped in to help.

JERSEY CITY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Homebound but not by choice, Karen Priester's been watching the world go by for nine months ever since her only set of wheels broke down.

She says without her motorized wheelchair working she's been stuck at her Jersey City home and has been feeling depressed because of it.

And this isn't a woman who likes to be idle, losing her leg below the knee didn't slow her down and neither did a whole bunch of other health challenges.

"RA, high blood pressure, diabetes, acid reflux, COPD. Oh, geez and I just had a heart attack in February," Priester said.

That's when she started bugging her insurance to get her motorized wheelchair fixed and all it needed was a new joystick.

"The part was supposed to come in April. April came and went, no part. I called them again then they said June or July. July came and left, then they said August, September," Priester said.

She says the whole time the wheelchair provider, Ocean Home Health, couldn't help her.

"I asked for a loaner way back and they said they don't do loaners. The whole summer stuck in the house," Priester said. Karen can't even use her manual wheelchair after the wheel caved in."You can't get on the street. That's how I fell," Priester said.

Her mom's 80 and her sons both died, the youngest shot. So Karen's all alone.

"It's just hard but god doesn't give you more than you can bear," Priester said.

Then she listened to her friend's advice.

My friend said 'call 7 On Your Side,' and see if they can help you," Priester said.

So we got in touch with Ocean Home Health the director of operations got right back to us, acknowledging the scooter should have been fixed back in February and blaming supply chain problems for the delay in getting her part, but within one day she got her loaner.

"Mysteriously the news called and they got a loaner. What, did they pull it out of the sky?" Priester said.

After being so immobile for months it was like being born again."I can believe it I can't believe it. I would like to thank 7 On Your Side so much for helping me get this wheelchair. Without yall I was in the house for nine months. Without you no one was bringing nothing," Priester said.

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