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Hospital did not allow a Visional Impaired Individual to use White Cane or a Service Animal

James (last name disclosed), went to St. Mary’s of Nazareth located at Western and Division, in Chicago, IL. He went to the hospital because he has Bipolar; he was going though an episode and had to get professional help. When he went to the Emergency Room on Thursday August 27, 2012, with his white cane in hand, the personal took his white cane away along with his other personal belongs and gave him two hospitals gowns to put on.

When he went to his room on the 12th floor, Psychiatric Ward, when James asked about his white cane for he can walk around in the hallway safely. The nurses and personal refused to give him, his cane because they said ‘other patients can grab it from you and use it as weapon.’ When James went to school for the blind (to learn how to be independent) they taught him how to protect his cane for other people cannot take it from him.

According to the Americans with Disability Act Law (ADA) under the White Cane Law; a facility cannot deny a person their white cane or their service animal for any reason. When James tried to bring it to the personal attention that they cannot deny him, his white cane. The personal acted as if he did not know what he was talking about. In addition, during the stay nobody helped him around the halls for he did not hurt himself. Even after the doctor, told the personal and nurses to help him around but nobody still helped him; the only time he got help was when his girlfriend came to visit him.

On the day that he was going to be released, his brother brought his service animal. As soon as he walked into the hospital and he got stopped by security. He was stopped because they did not want the “dog” inside the hospital. Even though it was explained to everybody that he was not a “dog”, he is a service animal. They did not want to hear anything about it; they wanted to fight everybody regarding this issue. So, James and his brother dropped the issue for that moment. When James, came home from the hospital; he called the hospital’s head security and unknown to anybody, the head of security was the same security guard that was arguing the matter at the hospital. When James started talking to him regarding the matter, he hung up on James, and then James called the Administration. When he called them, the head of Administration took down the notes and said that he was going to look into it. It has been almost two months and they have not called him back to tell James what they found.

When the hospital was contacted for comments they did not comment on the situation.

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