Paralyzed man stranded at doctor's office when ride doesn't show

Paralyzed man stranded at doctor's office when ride doesn't show

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(WJBK) -

A paralyzed man was stranded at his doctor's appointment Thursday when his arranged health care transportation did not show up to pick him up, even well past closing time.

Michael Buckwheat, 50, suffers from cerebral palsy and, years ago, a surgery left him paralyzed from the waist down. He is confined to a wheelchair.

Buckwheat receives health care insurance from Molina, who also provides transportation to and from doctor appointments through Trinity Transportation. Buckwheat was picked up Thursday morning and made it to his 11 a.m. appointment at the East Village Medical Center in Dearborn, but hours later his ride had still not shown up.

"[They] said for me to call them and they'd come pick me up after the appointment. Nobody ever showed up," Buckwheat tells Fox 2's Andrea Isom.

The company kept telling Buckwheat the ride would be there soon, but the hours kept passing. Soon the office was closing, which would put Buckwheat out in the cold.

"With my cerebral palsy my legs stiffen up in the cold. I can't bend my legs," he says.

Jennifer Gordon and her coworkers say they could not leave the man stranded. The employees kept calling, trying to find the man a ride, but several places were either closed or didn't have vehicles equipped with a life for Buckwheat's wheelchair.

"I was going to start driving down the road, if I have to, I mean I'll just go until the police stop me. Sooner or later somebody's going to have to do something," he says.

"He could get hypothermia; he could get hit by a car; anything could happen - his chair could die," Gordon says. "It's heartbreaking that nobody that had the means to help could help, or would help."

Gordon kept calling Trinity and Molina for help and finally, nearly nine hours after his appointment ended, a ride from Trinity finally showed up.

The general manager at Trinity reached out to Fox 2 and says the wait was not their fault, and the company that dispatches for them did not inform them about Buckwheat's need of a ride until after 7 p.m. Molina says they cannot comment on patient information and will investigate where the breakdown of communication happened and will follow up with Buckwheat only.

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