Clifton Heights, Pa. (WTXF) - A Clifton Heights family is very upset. They are claiming security tried to prevent their service dog from entering a hospital.
"12 minutes could be life or death for a man with a history of four strokes," said Kim McCarty. She's happy that her husband Joe is alive and home. But what she says happened when he was rushed to the hospital Friday morning still isn't sitting well with her.
"He said you're not getting back there with that dog," recalled Kim. She says a security guard at Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital in Darby refused to let Joe's service dog "Meatball" into the emergency room where she says her husband was being treated after a having a mini-stroke.
"I said he's a registered service assistance dog. I said wherever his handler is Meatball is permitted to go." Kim says security continued to refuse then called for a supervisor who she says 15 minutes later allowed her and Meatball to go back. Joe says he was anxious not knowing why Meatball wasn't at his bedside.
"Stress. More stress," he said. Joe's condition which can cause him to have seizures or a stroke is the reason Kim says most of the staff know his service dog is always with him. Joe also used to work there.
"Number two his father is a current employee at the hospital everybody knows him. Number three is the nurse actually said to me Kim where's meatball."
Joe and Kim would like an apology but say that's not the most important thing.
"I want them all educated as to the rules and the regulations," said Kim.
The hospital released this statement: "In alignment with the Americans with Disabilities Act and Mercy Fitzgerald Hospital policy, trained service animals are permitted to assist their owners in patient-care areas. We strive to ensure visitors are aware of our policies and the ADA requirements regarding service animals. We take this situation seriously and are looking into the facts of the matter."
The couple claims this same thing happened at the hospital two years ago and that they were assured then that it wouldn't happen again.