Woman says her service dog was not allowed into hospital

Posted: Updated:
BRICK TOWNSHIP -

An Ocean County woman says that her service dog was not allowed into the emergency room of Ocean Medical Center in Brick.

Nicole Sorchinski says her pit bull Nala detects her impending seizures. Sorchinski began suffering from seizures following a car crash three years ago. 

“A year after I started suffering my seizures is when Nala started detecting them,” Sorchinski says.

The ordeal also left her with post-traumatic stress disorder.

Sorchinski says that Saturday night she and Nala started to recognize an impending seizure, so she texted her friend, who called paramedics. She say that the paramedics brought her and the dog to Ocean Medical Center, but that the nurse manager on duty did not allow the dog inside.

“Some lady had walked in and told me Nala is not welcome here, you have 15 minutes to get her picked up or…we will call Brick Animal Control and have her brought to the shelter,” Sorchinski says.

Sorchinski says that last month she spent a week recovering from seizures at CentraState Hospital in Freehold where Nala never left her side. 

She says that what the nurse manager at Ocean Medical Center did was illegal and she wants more people to be educated about service dogs.

“[Nala is] almost as important as the medication I take every day because I am on a regimen…of medications and she comes everywhere with me. If I don't have her it's like not taking my medication,” Sorchinski says.

A spokesperson for Hackensack Meridian Health, which runs the hospital, says in a statement, "While our goal is to keep patients and their service animals together whenever possible, there are situations where our team members must focus on providing the highest quality care for our patients."

The statement continued, "We are committed to educating the public about the importance of putting a plan in place for the care and safety of service animals during an Emergency Department visit. We are also committed to educating our team members on the importance of service animals and the actions that can be taken to ensure the service animal’s utmost safety."

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