Cranston woman faces delay in delivery of life-sustaining medical supply

CRANSTON, R.I. (WPRI) – Patricia Larocque will celebrate her birthday on Monday.

“I’m amazed I’m going to be 82!” she marveled.

Over the years, Larocque has dealt with several health issues and needs oxygen 24 hours a day. But Larocque said Lincare, her oxygen supplier, had not delivered in more than a month.

“I’m relying on that,” Larocque said. “When you can’t rely on it, your confidence is gone.”

Larocque’s frustration reached a boiling point last week when the power went out. Larocque said she didn’t have a spare oxygen tank to tide her over through the outage. Her daughter, Heather Moran, scrambled for a solution.

“She [Moran] went and hooked up the emergency tank,” Larocque recalled. “It’s a good thing we had that because we didn’t have any canisters!”

Moran said she and her sisters have called Lincare repeatedly, even offering to pick up tanks instead of waiting for deliveries.

“It’s very serious!” Moran said. “There’s no response from them.”

After Call 12 for Action contacted Lincare, a technician delivered several oxygen tanks to Larocque’s home.

“I think that we’re OK for the time being,” Heather said. “It’s just unbelievable the extremes that I had to go through to even get that done.”

In an email, the head of communications and public affairs for Lincare told Call 12 for Action, “as you know, because of HIPAA / privacy laws, I am not allowed to discuss any patient with you. That said, thank you very much for contacting Lincare.”

Susan Campbell (scampbell@wpri.com) is the Call 12 for Action and Target 12 consumer investigator for WPRI 12 and Fox Providence. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.