National News

Young boy waiting years for a wheelchair

Posted January 31, 2018 11:10 a.m. EST

— A mom says she tried for more than two years to get Cincinnatri Children's Hospital to provide a new wheelchair for her son, who has muscular dystrophy.

Kaleb's wheelchair was broken and Tanya Durbin was starting to lose hope, so she called 9 On Your Side.

When Kaleb and I met, Kaleb was in a replacement chair. But he needed a new one.

Kaleb takes 12 to 13 pills every day, his mom said. He has lost the use of most of his body because of muscular dystrophy. He needs a wheelchair to be able to move.

She said caring for Kaleb is "a full-time job."

"He is completely dependent on someone else to help him throughout the day," she said.

The problem with Kaleb's wheelchair started in July 2015, she said. The bolt in the back broke and he fell out of it.

"We had to call the ambulance. He wasn't able to be moved," she said. "So the ambulance came and we went to Children's. He had to spend the night there. He ended up with a broken hip."

Cincinnati Children's Hospital normally handles the process to get him fitted for a new chair, she said. The process started, but two years later Kaleb was still waiting on his new chair.

"I reached out to Channel 9 mainly because the process of getting Kaleb's new chair was ridiculous and I had no clue who to contact," she said.

I called Children's and the hospital acknowledged the issue and immediately went to work trying to figure out what went wrong. I checked in every week for about three weeks. And then it happened.

Kaleb got a new $75,000 wheelchair.

"Excited. Overwhelmed. Full of happiness," his mom said. "Children's did an amazing job."

Children's sent a statement that reads, in part:

"There were a number of factors that led to Kaleb being unable to get a new wheelchair. We regret that it took so long and are examining our processes to improve them for all families who come here for care."

We're going to put this in the #problemsolved file.

"Yes, absolutely," Kaleb's mom said.