Veteran Fighting to Get Oxygen Machine Back (VIDEO)

By Stephanie Parkinson - 21Alive

November 12, 2013 Updated Nov 14, 2013 at 3:08 PM EDT

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (21Alive) - A veteran with emphysema, confined to his home because he relies on oxygen, is having trouble getting his portable oxygen concentrator back from the company he pays for it.

Carl Soellinger is hooked up to oxygen 24 hours a day. He has a large machine at home that has a cord allowing him to move around his home, but it prevents him from leaving his home. That's why he bought a portable machine.

He is paying Lincare, a company that provides and services oxygen concentrators, for a machine that is lightweight, and has enough charge to make oxygen for him for five hours. But he hasn't had that machine in his possession for nearly five months.

"My wife and I are both on social security but I was willing to sacrifice one thing to get another so I could be more free of going places," said Soellinger.

In July the machine went to be serviced because the battery inside it wouldn't hold a charge. Carl has a loaner machine, but the external battery for that one doesn't work. So Carl can only be out for two hours before he needs to plug his machine back in.

"I'm pretty well stranded now with this thing. Now it's just like getting put back in jail because of this deal with Lincare," said Soellinger.

Carl served in the Korean War so he is able to get help from the VA, but they weren't able to get him a portable machine. Instead, he had large tanks and used a cart to get around.

"That was from the VA and that was free, and you know you can't complain about free," said Soellinger.

But now he's paying Lincare for something he isn't getting.

I called and spoke with a manager at the Fort Wayne Lincare location. She said she couldn't speak specifically about patients due to HIPPA laws, but then continued to discuss Carl's situation with me. She said what he claims is untrue, and she's working on getting him a new machine.

For the past several weeks, Carl is told one more week and he will have his machine back. Now he's wondering if he'll have to find another solution.

"I won't give up on this until I get it back. If I have to buy a new one I will," said Soellinger.

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