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Wheelchair ramp injury leaves Dagenham mum in wrist brace

PUBLISHED: 14:00 18 December 2018 | UPDATED: 15:39 18 December 2018

Dawn Gilbey, 53, and son Ryan, 18. Picture: Kean Mears

Dawn Gilbey, 53, and son Ryan, 18. Picture: Kean Mears

Archant

A Dagenham mother will spend Christmas in a wrist brace after being injured on an incorrectly set-up wheelchair ramp.

Dawn Gilbey, of Ager Avenue, damaged her right hand after sliding down the upside-down ramp at Chadwell Heath station.

The 53-year-old says she and her son Ryan, 18, were leaving the train when a member of staff put the ramp between the carriage and the platform.

“When I got to the help desk, they weren’t very helpful,” she said.

“All they said was: ‘He’s new, and we’re sorry’.

“They didn’t even send an incident report.”

Dawn, a wheelchair user, had been returning home from visiting family when they arrived at the station.

The doors opened, revealing a young member of staff on the platform, who asked whether she needed a mobility ramp.

“In the meantime the train doors were closing,” Dawn said.

“So no-one told the driver someone disabled was trying to get off.”

While Ryan and another passenger held them open, the worker returned, placing the ramp’s rough upwards side face down.

This meant when he pulled her wheelchair forward there was little to stop her slipping down.

“It was like going down a slide,” she said.

She caught her wrist in the wheel, causing injury to her ligaments and tendons.

“Everything happened so quick,” Dawn went on.

“I was so shocked.”

Doctors at Queen’s Hospital in Romford told her three days later her injuries would take at least eight weeks to heal, taking away much of her independence this Christmas and New Year.

She accepts the member of staff was inexperienced, but wants to share her story to prevent others from going through the same experience.

“I want people to know about it because I don’t want it to happen to no-one else,” she said.

“It was a really bad experience for me.”

Howard Smith, Elizabeth line operations director, apologised “for the issues” Dawn faced when trying to get off the train on Friday, December 7, adding: “we are urgently investigating what happened in this case”.

Dawn, however, says she has heard nothing from him.

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