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Two Lawsuits Later, Hospital Still Inaccessible

A Kaiser hospital in Oakland, CA, is still not accessible even after two lawsuits over the issue.

John Mannick was hospitalized at Kaiser in 2003 with MS complications, and found he had to shower in the maternity ward because there were no accessible shower facilities anywhere else in the hospital.

Mannick, reported the paper, "was shocked to find that the hospital lacked any accessible patient rooms and bathrooms and didn't have equipment such as lift slings to help patients in and out of bed nor roll-in showers to accommodate people with wheelchairs."

Mannick sued the hospital under the Americans with Disabilities Act. His suit was the second it faced for lacking access; Disability Rights Associates had sued the hospital over the same issue in 2000.

A consent decree signed by Kaiser in August [2005] required the health care giant to update the Oakland facility with one accessible room, as well as improve accessible parking and signage, by the end of 2005.

Mannick's attorneys said they believe Kaiser still has not complied.

"This is outrageous," said J. Gary Gwilliam, Mannick's attorney. "Kaiser is still not in compliance (with ADA standards) after 15 years."

Hospital spokesperson Alix Sabin told the Contra Costa Times, "We really feel for the plaintiff, and we really regret his distress.But we think that the litigation was unnecessary, and the allegations are unfair and unnecessarily alarming to the public."

A jury trial has been scheduled for August in Mannick's suit.

Kaiser not accessible, patient's suit claims (Contra Costa Times)