Man Says Airline Damaged Wheelchair
Cerebral Palsy Sufferer Says Vacation Ruined

POSTED: 6:49 p.m. EDT May 22, 2003

WORCESTER, Mass. -- A Worcester man who suffers from cerebral palsy said that his wheelchair was so severely damaged during a flight that it took away his vacation and his independence.

Man Still Without Use Of Wheelchair

NewsCenter 5's Jim Boyd reported that Scott Putnam, 31, said his recent trip to Florida was a disaster, and he blames Delta Air Lines. Putnam said when he arrived in Orlando April 25, his wheelchair was so badly damaged that he was unable to use it.

He said he needed to hire extra personal care assistants and navigate Orlando in a manual wheelchair, which he said was inadequate.

Putnam said Delta paid $90 to have a technician look at the wheelchair in Florida, but the damage was so severe that parts needed to be ordered. He said he's still without the use of the wheelchair, nearly a month after the incident.

"It's like losing a limb," he said. "I lost something I use all the time."

Delta issued a statement saying it is looking into the matter.

"They have offered to pay for any repairs, which is great, but I'm stuck in a manual chair for three weeks," Putnam said.

Putnam said Delta should reimburse him for the wasted trip, the additional expenses and what his nephew says was a lost vacation.

"He didn't really get to his vacation," said his nephew, Travis Bergeron. "He really just went down to Florida for nothing."

Putnam said the whole incident could have been avoided, because he was told after the fact that he could have rented a special container for his wheelchair that would have protected it during transit.
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