Disabled vet needs help with wheelchair repairs

Posted at 6:08 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 20:07:00-05

A local disabled vet is having trouble getting his wheelchair fixed by Veteran Affairs.

Robert Ainsworth is frustrated because his wheelchair isn't working like it should. He says he's contacted the VA but feels like he's been getting the run-around.

“Big run-around, but still ain’t nothing accomplished,” he said.

The Prostehetics Department at the VA Hospital in Harlingen is handling his case, with little success.

“I talked to one of the doctors down there that’s in charge of the wheelchair deal, he said they requested three different times for them to take care of it,” said Ainsworth.

Ainsworth volunteered for the U.S. Navy in 1962. He was assigned to the USS Coucal, a submarine rescue ship, and was wounded taking marines ashore.

“This mortar came in right in the middle of the damn deal as I was letting the marines off” said Ainsworth. “I just let down the door and boom, I landed over on the beach.”

Doctors gave him six months to a year to live, telling him he’d be in a wheelchair the rest of his life. That was in 1964. He only started using the chair about a decade ago, but as a disabled veteran, he needs the VA to fix his chair.

“I can’t afford no damn big old scooter like this,” said Ainsworth.

“Our hands are tied,” added Ainsworth’s wife Lynn. “And he calls them, sometimes 2-3 times a week and he gets the same answers.”

Ainsworth’s chair needs a new speed controller as well as a charging port, as his chair only lasts about 30 minutes to a charge. Lynn, his wife of 54 years, is worried for her husband’s safety.

“He had to cross the road and there were cars coming,” said Lynn Ainsworth “My oldest son had to stop the traffic so he could get by because it is that slow.”

Ainsworth says he wants his issue resolved, so he can get on with his life.

“I don’t know what kind of a game they’re playing,” said Ainsworth. “You call and say you want to talk to someone in prosthetics, you wind up in… I wound up win New York City one time.”