The attached Gurney Guide was updated on April 25, 2023 to include additional support for those traveling by gurney (stretcher) solo. For example, a handout will help transport people to quickly grasp your condition. Please download the new version.
The level of disability that requires gurney transportation for someone with Severe or Very Severe ME and/or structural issues usually comes with extreme suffering. The inability to sit up accompanies myriad symptoms ranging from brain inflammation to unrelenting pain throughout the body.
Finding non-urgent transportation on a gurney (or stretcher) for a bed-bound person is not just challenging, sometimes it seems impossible. I’ve created The Gurney Guide to help you find and use non-urgent medical transportation to get to appointments with less stress and frustration. I wish we’d had this guide when our Severe ME journey began.
The bed-bound patient who cannot sit up at all is a rare exception for disability accommodations, and many non-urgent transport services either won’t have gurneys or won’t come to your home.
When my son James Strazza became Very Severe with ME, he could no longer sit up or use a wheelchair. It was traumatic. We were dealing with the new reality that he could not sit on a bedside commode, and transportation to doctor appointments was the last thing on our minds. Then in February of 2020 he had a 45-minute non-epileptic seizure, and I wanted him to see a neurologist.
I thought I could get doctors to make house calls if I could justify it well. I told the first doctor I called that “money is no object” (insert hysterically laughing emoji here). Calling the next doctor, I tested a number, “I’ll give you $600 to drive to my house and see my son.” Nope.
I could not expect a house call, and I had never heard of non-urgent gurney transportation, so I had to figure this out with no guidance.
The Gurney Guide is available as an interactive PDF download, below, since it's too long for a blog post. I’ve designed the Guide with a larger font (12 point type), interactive elements to quickly navigate content, links to websites with additional help, and photos throughout to help you understand concepts better than words alone. The extreme challenge presented by a lack of services and a maze of logistics to find transportation is honestly inhumane. This Guide will, hopefully, ease that burden.
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