KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The tires on a broken-down wheelchair have finally been repaired for a Knoxville man who is disabled.
Will Roberts depends on his chair to get around, but the tires were shredding. He was frustrated after waiting more than a month for new parts. Out of desperation, he called WATE’s Don Dare, who got in touch with the supply company. WATE contacted the business two weeks ago after the first interview with Roberts.
Roberts has a genetic disorder called hereditary spastic paraplegia, or HSP. He can stand for short periods of time, however, he can’t walk.
His expensive chair was nearly impossible to wheel around. He placed an order for new tires in July and five weeks later, they finally arrived. The 37-year-old permanently disabled former government worker is finally able to maneuver his four-year-old chair with ease.
Roberts received his chair from NuMotion of Knoxville four years ago. The corporate company is considered one of the nation’s leading providers of mobility devices and repairs. His chair is a Quickie model one of the most popular customized chairs manufactured by Sunrise Medical. The cost paid by Medicare and Medicaid for Roberts’s chair was $16,175.
Previously, Roberts showed how the casing on the right tire of his chair had split exposing the inner tube. He was using zip ties to hold the rubber in place. Roberts said NuMotion knew about the problems on July 24, but a month later the parts had not arrived.
WATE visited the Knoxville office two weeks ago and asked about the delay. Shortly afterwards, new parts arrived on August 28. The next day, NuMotion sent a repairman to fix the chair’s tires and armrests that were coming apart.
“Overall it took about six hours,” said Roberts. “It was a little more complex. The rubber had to go in the casing. He had to stretch it over the wheel. He was great though, he really was. He told me he was not leaving until he got the job done.”
“I can actually roll around, spin in circles,” Roberts said. “I’m not worried about falling backward anymore, it’s fantastic. I love it.”
He told WATE that the new armrests were much more comfortable.
“It’s no longer ripping apart. There was foam falling on the floor before, ripping apart. But now, it’s a solid piece,” said Roberts.
The charge for parts and labor to fix the chair was $863.
“That’s crazy, just for two wheels and two armrests,” said Roberts.
Roberts is still wondering why it took so long for the parts to arrive from the manufacturer.
“According to NuMotion, the manufacturer was dragging its feet. It was Sunrise, I believe,” said Roberts.
With the new tires, the chair’s brake system now holds.
“Now, I’m rolling. I’m actually spinning in circles. Yeah, it’s crazy,” said Roberts.
Roberts said he hoped the tires and armrests on his expensive wheelchair hold up longer this time. He received the chair just under four years ago. Under Medicare and Medicaid rules, he’s eligible for a new wheelchair every five years. He said with the new parts on his present chair, he likely will not need a new one 14 months from now.