Mr. Goodwin is a person of short stature who relies on a customized wheelchair for mobility. In 2011, Mr. Goodwin was travelling on a San Francisco sidewalk to catch a bus home when he fell from his wheelchair. He sustained injuries that required medical attention, and was transported by ambulance to a hospital in San Francisco.
Mr. Goodwin’s motorized wheelchair could not be transported with him in the ambulance. Unlike manual chairs, motorized wheelchairs and scooters cannot be folded and often require transportation services that can accommodate their size. The emergency personnel phoned a taxi company to pick up the chair and then left the scene. The taxi did not arrive, and the wheelchair disappeared, never to be recovered.
Bryan Goodwin commented: “Because of the loss of my wheelchair, I could not return home or go to work and was forced to spend additional days in the hospital until a suitable temporary replacement chair was found.”
In response to Mr. Goodwin’s traumatic experience, the City of San Francisco worked with DRA and Chavez & Gertler to improve its emergency response system.
San Francisco adopted an improved emergency response system to ensure that people with mobility disabilities who require assistance or are detained in the course of emergency response actions are reunited with their wheelchairs, scooters, oxygen tanks, and similar equipment after they are transported to a hospital or safe location.