NEW YORK (FOX 5 NY) - A 9/11 first responder had a showdown with security guards. They stopped him from going to a doctor's appointment with his service dog.
Jaime Hazan stills has nightmares from his volunteer work at ground zero on that fateful day 15 years ago. His service dog Bernie helps him deal with his PTSD. Earlier this week, he faced a roadblock he feels a disabled person should never have to encounter.
A video shows the guard denying Jaime access from seeing the doctor because of Bernie and heading out to get his supervisor while Jaime states that Bernie is allowed to be there.
On Tuesday, Jaime came to New York State Psychiatric Institute in Washington Heights for a routine doctor's visit. Jaime said he's brought Bernie several times in the past but, as you you can see in the video that Jaime recorded, two state safety officers wouldn't let him enter with Bernie, even though Jaime insisted it's against federal law.
"For a psychiatric hospital to be unaware that a service dog is allowed through, to me is among the most egregious things that have happened. And it's disgusting to put a patient through that," Jaime said.
A spokesperson for the state agency that runs the medical facility told Fox 5 News that service animals are definitely welcome. They are "distressed and perplexed that these employees failed to abide by this policy and will take immediate action to address this incident and to make sure that other visitors are not treated like this going forward."
Aside from PTSD, Jaime also suffers physically and says he does nothing but give back to the community. Even Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged his heroism at a press conference in January.
Jaime wants to stress that he's had many positive experiences with this medical facility, and he has been very happy with the doctors he's met with. He just hopes that going forward, this won't happen to anyone else and that more people will be educated about service dogs.