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MetroAccess suspends service

MetroAccess officials decided to stop taking reservations at 2 p.m. Friday and not make any trips after 4 p.m. as a result of the storm. That decision caused consternation among some care providers who were worried about their patients who depend on the paratransit service.

Jody Gordon, a social worker at Capitol Dialysis in the District, said one of her critical dialysis patients was less than a mile from her clinic when MetroAccess decided to return the patient to his home. The patient, who requires dialysis three times a week, could experience respiratory distress as a result, she said.

"I don't see why they would need to return him home," she said.

Jay Ocuin, medical director of Capitol Dialysis, said the patient, James Henderson, could suffer serious health problems as a result. "Are they just going to have the patients stay at home and die?" said Ocuin, who said given the light snowfall at the time Henderson's trip to the clinic should not have been aborted. "Right now it's only a little flakes," he said of the weather.

Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said that MetroAccess made a decision that any trips after 4 p.m. on Friday could mean that customers would be stranded due to the worsening weather. "You could have someone sitting at a dialysis center with no way home -- that is the flip side," he said.

Taubenkibel said that MetroAccess informed customers of the cancellations by sending out alerts and automated phone calls, and returned customers home who were already out on trips.

-- Ann Scott Tyson

By Michael Bolden  |  February 5, 2010; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  Advisories , Commuting , Metro , Safety  | Tags: MetroAccess, metro, metro safety  
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Next: Metro's dilemma: Serve or preserve?

Comments

If staying at home for a day or two equals death, shouldn't these people be institutionalized?

Posted by: member8 | February 5, 2010 4:42 PM | Report abuse

"Metro spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said at noon that the transit authority hopes to have an announcement this afternoon on when Metrorail service will be suspended above ground."

Any update from Metro? How is it that trains in Philly, NYC, and Chicago can continue to run in heavy snow?

Posted by: HeShootsHeScores | February 5, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

HeShootsHeScores: Plow trains, I'm guessing.

It makes no economic sense for Metro to waste money on equipment that will be used only a few times every DECADE, especially considering the budget crisis.

Posted by: stuckman | February 5, 2010 5:50 PM | Report abuse

@member8

Nice sensitive comment there, not. Institutionalized? You're as bad as Rahm.

Dialysis patients are not routinely kept in the hospital. Insurance companies won't pay for that. There are also other health issues for which people need frequent treatment but can stay at home. Insurance aside, it often makes no sense for them to be in a care facility because they are otherwise healthy.

Posted by: ceebee2 | February 5, 2010 6:52 PM | Report abuse

What a pathetic attempt to justify MetroAccess' refusal to transport a patient for critically needed treatment, while such transport apparently was still feasible. "You could have someone sitting at a dialysis center with no way home -- that is the flip side," [the Metro spokesperson] said. Being stranded at the dialysis center would certainly be an inconvenience, but arrangements could be made to provide such patients with food and cots. On the other hand, a patient stranded at home could easily die for lack of access to dialysis. And Metro claims to see no difference between those two situations: inconvenience versus life and death?? What imbeciles!! If that patient, or others similarly situated, die as a result of such reckless disregard for human life, then those responsible should be prosecuted.

Posted by: lydgate | February 5, 2010 6:59 PM | Report abuse

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