SPECIAL REPORT: A wheelchair-bound multiple sclerosis patient from a Rochelle Park nursing home spent three hours outside a doctor’s office in Ridgewood last night after the local ambulance service that dropped him off didn’t pick him up.
John Ricciardi, 50, a patient at Alaris at Rochelle Park — formerly known as Bristol Manor Nursing Home — said he was dropped off for his bi-annual visit with his dermatologist at 6:30 p.m. He emerged at 7:30, then sat out front of the North Maple Avenue medical building and waited for two hours.
A passing bicyclist stopped to check on him, then called Ridgewood police for Ricciardi.
Iris Molina, who identified herself as an administrator with County Ambulance Service, said the driver arrived at 7:40 p.m., didn’t see Ricciardi in the doctor’s office and left.
“He even asked for the patient,” Molina told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
Alaris Administrator Kristine Giles said she hopes to determine exactly what happened.
Transportation for Medicaid patients such as Ricciardi is arranged through LogistiCare, the state’s medical transportation broker the past five years, she explained.
“That is not my ambulance company. I have a contract with another ambulance,” Giles told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
“LogistiCare’s transport schedules are closely monitored to ensure that the needs of clients are properly managed,” the state Division of Medical Assistance and Health Services says on its website.
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STORY / PHOTOS: Boyd A. Loving
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Responding Ridgewood Police Officer Kyle Finch found Ricciardi in front of the building at the corner of Marshall Street.
After radioing Central Dispatch to alert the nursing home, Finch talked with Ricciardi.
“He was great,” Ricciardi said. “He spent time with me, talking about family and other things. We had to wait a long time, but it was nice talking with him. He made sure that I was OK.”
Just before 10:30, Aaron Ambulance came through.
The ambulance didn’t have a wheelchair lift, so the workers moved Ricciardi onto a stretcher, with Finch’s help.
“Fortunately, he’s an alert, oriented resident,” said Alaris’ Giles. “He’s young. Unfortunately, there was a delay from this company.
“We’re glad that he’s safe and sound.”
Ricciardi said he was sorry that he may never see this story. His computer is broken, he said, and he doesn’t have access to another at the nursing home.
“I’m grateful for the man on the bike with the cellphone, and for the police officer who responded and the ambulance people who showed up,” Ricciardi told CLIFFVIEW PILOT . “They made it all OK.”
He had a message for Loving: “Thank you for caring.”
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