A man from Nyköping in eastern Sweden has been denied a power wheelchair despite having had both of his legs amputated as the local health authority remained "uncertain if the impairment was permanent".
The man had his legs amputated after a long struggle with diabetes, but despite being unable get about, his application for a power wheelchair has been denied.
“I was bitterly disappointed in the local authorities. I don’t feel I got the support I deserve,” Evert Stefansson told The Local.
Evert Stefansson had struggled with his health for a long time. As a long-suffering diabetic his kidneys have taken a beating, as has his eyesight.
About a year ago, his condition took a turn for the worse when his toe suddenly went black.
He was rushed to hospital where they had no other choice than to amputate his leg. Within a year, they had to take his other leg too.
Since then Evert has experienced some difficulty in getting about.
He might be able to walk short distances again with prosthetic legs, but that will take up to a year, according to his wife Siv.
Siv, also on early retirement due to a bad back, told The Local how she is forced to help her husband with everything and how he remains completely dependent on her.
In order to regain some of his independence, Stefansson applied for a so-called Permobile, a power wheelchair, that he could manoeuvre himself.
“But I had my suspicions right from the start that it wouldn’t be easy, when the woman from the county visited. She sort of hinted that he could have an ordinary electric wheelchair,” Siv Stefansson said.
The electric wheelchair was less desirable as it would still need a carer operating it, and would therefore not allow Stefansson to get about by himself, without the constant help of his wife.
However, the motivation for the county council’s decision was allegedly that it was “uncertain if the impairment was permanent”, reported local media.
After the couple found out that Evert’s application would be rejected, Siv decided to take the matter into her own hands.
“I got angry. It just isn’t right that he has worked all his life but now can’t do anything that he loves anymore. Not even go fishing,” she told The Local.
“I decided to contact the papers and the broadcast media. And it was definitely what was needed.”
Through media’s reports, a woman in the nearby area caught wind of the couple’s plight and contacted her brother, who works with permobiles and has previously helped others in the same predicament.
“She told him ‘you better do something about this’ - and he did,” Siv Stefansson said.
Thanks to the woman's initiative, Evert’s new permobile will arrive next week, on loan from the company that manufactures them.
“I am overjoyed! It is by far the best Christmas present we could receive,” Siv Stefansson told The Local.
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