2011-07-08 / Front Page

Bleeding And Abandoned

By Howard Schwach

The Adatto’s at home. The Adatto’s at home. Like they had done dozens of time before, Ruth and Isaac Adatto were on their way home from a cardiologist’s appointment in Cedarhurst, riding on an MTA Access-A-Ride vehicle belonging to All-Transit.

Ruth explained that the transit van is necessary because her husband, better known as Irving, was in a wheelchair due to diabetes and several other illnesses, one of which is lymphodemia, which causes regular bleeding problems.

July 1, however, turned out to be not only different, but potentially life threatening, Ruth Adatto told The Wave this week.

“We were on our way home to Beach 126 Street from Cedarhurst, and the transit bus stopped to pick up a man in Far Rockaway who had to go to East New York in Brooklyn,” she said.

The driver told the Adatto’s that he had to take them to Brooklyn before taking them home to Belle Harbor. Ruth pointed out that her husband was bleeding and that there was a nurse waiting at home to treat him.

By the time she got her point made, the van was in front of McDonald’s at Beach Channel Drive and Beach 92 Street, about to go over the Cross Bay Bridge on the way to Brooklyn.

She asked the driver to call his supervisor and ask permission to take them home before making the long trip to Brooklyn on the beginning of a holiday weekend.

The driver called his supervisor, but was told, according to Ruth, that “he would be fired if he did not follow his route.”

Ruth used her own cell phone to call an MTA supervisor whose number she had in her address book. She said she explained that there was a medical emergency, that her husband was bleeding heavily by now, but that the supervisor was nasty to her, telling her that hers “was a shared ride,” and that “she would have to go wherever the driver took her.”

Their only option, she said, was to get off the bus.

The driver unloaded them in the McDon- ald’s parking lot and drove away over the bridge. Luckily, she says, she managed to reach a neighbor, Ann McKeon, with a large car who came and took them home.

Now, Ruth Adatto is angry, even though she says that she has had “lots of successful experiences” with Access-A-Ride.

“The city is failing the disabled,” she said. “Why didn’t the supervisor use some common sense? We were less than five minutes from home. She could have allowed the driver to take us home and then go to Brooklyn.” “The driver was willing,” she said, “and so was the man who had to go to Brooklyn. Only the supervisor was threatening.”

She added that the MTA should have an ombudsman program to address problems such as this.

“The disabled need help to get to necessary services,” she said. “We weren’t going to a movie or the racetrack. Why was the supervisor like that?”

A spokesperson for the MTA declined to comment for this story.

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