Access Challenge Stories

University of Washington Medical Center
Seattle, Washington

Well, I have a doozy. I am scheduled to go into surgery at the University Washington Medical Center on July 16, 1999. I have been in contact with the hospital trying to get a straight answer out of them in regards to their Service Dog policy. One person tells me dogs aren't allowed, another says they have a policy, but it's on the website, and the site is down, or I do look on the site, but can't find it. I know the first person is wrong, as a friend is staying at the hospital and has her dog with her. *sigh*

This wouldn't be so bad, if the hospital would just TELL THE TRUTH!!! Gillis is really too young to stay with me, but I don't want Keith stopped when he brings Gillis to me to visit. If he gets stopped, there will be problems, because HE isn't disabled, but is bringing my dog to me, which is considered a reasonable accomodation.

This whole thing would not be so bad, but a nurse in Pre-Surgery told me many people have brought their service animals during appointments but they never stayed with the person in their room. I find that REALLY hard to believe, unless it's the person's personal choice, and that's fine. I suspect that the hospital told them they couldn't, and there was no fight. I plan to fight. :)

So, the saga continues.

Update! Yeah, I know, it's 8 months later. Well, I did get into the hospital, after the head of Assistance Animal Advocacy faxed the University of Washington and asked what their service dog policy was. Once the policy was in AAA's hands, it was faxed to me, as their were major problems with it. The patient care team had the right to decide if the dog was needed or not. *sigh*

Once this was known, a fax was sent by Assistance Animals Advocacy, and stated exactly what the law was, and that my dog would not be separated from me - and would not be taken into sterile areas. No response to the fax was given by the University of Washington Hospital.

I was not bothered at all when I went into the hospital, nor was I bothered during my entire stay. The only complaint that I received, was that the patient care team never got to meet Gillis (they showed up at 6:30am or 10:30pm, after Gillis and Keith went home.

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