Attention all users of the Permobil Corpus 500 electric wheelchair
have owned a Permobil Corpus 500 electric wheelchairs since 2011. My previous chair was the Permobil Chairman. It goes without saying that I absolutely love Permobil wheelchairs, they do everything I need from an electric wheelchair and more. However, it seems I may have found a serious flaw that could very easily result in a catastrophic disaster.
At approximately 9:15 PM this evening I started tilting my chair to carry out a pressure relief manoeuvre. In the blink of an eye out without any time to react the whole backrest on my Permobil collapsed sending me hurtling backwards. Thankfully my headrest stopped me from getting serious whiplash. By luck, we were in the middle of our radio club meeting so there were plenty of people here to help get me onto my bed.
Believe it or not, this is not the first time something like this has happened. About 10 years ago I was outside enjoying the sunshine when all of a sudden the backrest collapsed in exactly the same way. I had a different Permobil back then and the design was not quite the same, however, it's rather worrying that the same problem has happened and to different models of the Permobil wheelchair.
What scares me most about these instances is that they could well have happened whilst I was driving my van. It's just by the grace of God that I was at home when the back collapsed. Can you imagine the outcome if my back collapsed whilst travelling at 40 miles an hour down the main road?
I wouldn't consider myself to be overweight and therefore far too heavy for this wheelchair. Okay, I am quite a big chap, but the Permobil should be able to support me, it shouldn't be collapsing like this. Permobil needs to look at these brackets and either redesign them or use a material that isn't going to snap like this.
If you own a Permobil Corpus 500, or any other wheelchair that uses a similar tilt and recline function then I would strongly urge you to get the two brackets that support the tilt checked out thoroughly to make sure they still in good condition.
If in the event this did happen whilst I was driving the fault would have been found and I could well imagine that the authorities could put a stop to anyone using similar wheelchairs from driving themselves. This could really reflect badly on Permobil so I'm going to urge them to look at this seriously before somebody has a serious accident. Lady luck has been on my side twice, I wouldn't like to have this happen a third time because my luck well has run out.