Monday, June 12, 2017

Broken Good Shepherd Chapel Elevator Leaves Wheelchair Users Unable To Leave For Hours After Memorial Service For Roosevelt Island Disabled Association President Virginia Granato

As previously reported, former Roosevelt Island Disabled Association President Virginia Granato passed away on April 30. Last Saturday, June 10, friends and neighbors of Ms Granato held a memorial service at Roosevelt Island's Good Shepherd Chapel

Unfortunately, Ms. Granato's friends who use wheelchairs

Image From Judy Berdy

were not able to leave Good Shepherd after the memorial service because the buildng elevator broke.

Image From Judy Berdy

Roosevelt Island Historical Society President Judy Berdy reports on what happened.
There was a lovely service and commemoration for Virginia Granato in the Chapel at 1 p.m. The elevator had been working before the service. At 2:15 p.m. the elevator was not functioning leaving 8 persons, most of them in wheelchairs stuck upstairs in the Chapel.

PSD was contacted and they called the elevator maintenance company.

While the residents waited, neighbors brought them refreshments. and others brought drinks and food and kept everyone informed as the time wore on. One of the guests from the event sang songs. Michael Shinozaki chatted with everyone to pass the time and texted Chief McManus of the situation.

911 was called twice at 3;17 p.m and 3:37. Since no one was stuck in an elevator the situation was not considered urgent. (911 did know about where Roosevelt Island was).

Some of our visitors used motorized wheelchairs that weigh between 400 and 650 pound with the passenger. This means that there is no way to carry the rider and chair safely. To use a ramp out of the Chapel there was nothing available to hold the weight and could be safe at a steep angle. Nancy Brown has life support equipment on her chair and there was no way to safely move her without her chair.

After PSD chief Jack Mc Manus arrived he had conversations with 911. They did not seem to comprehend that this situation could be dangerous and no further assistance was sent. Two EMS crews came into the chapel but did not want to move anyone. The PSD officers and chief stayed with the group and provided information and updates.

It was a long afternoon as many were uncomfortable and felt trapped.
Finally, at 5 p.m. the elevator repair person arrived. Within 30 minutes he had the elevator operating so everyone could leave.

Looking around the Chapel we realize that it is so dangerous to have one elevator and no other safe way to leave if you are not able to walk steps.
More on Virginia Granato

at this previous post.