Deaf patients say it can be difficult to communicate at hospitals

Summarized by Ryan Datus Anderson, staff writer

Communicating with doctors or medical staff at hospitals can be a difficult task; one only made more difficult by having a lack of decent translators for the hard of hearing. While hospitals are required to provide a translator for those that are deaf or hard of hearing, many say that the services are frequently unreliable.

“I cannot imagine trying to go to a doctor for yourself or your children and not being able to understand what is going on,” said Camilla Roberson, a staff attorney with the Public Justice Center. “I just think it’s wrong.”

The U.S Department of Justice launched the barrier-free health care initiative in 2012, aiming to guarantee that all hospitals follow standards in their communication with their patients. This would ensure that anyone with a disability could be presented with enough medical information for their situation. Over three dozen hospitals have been sued for not meeting these standards.

Most hospitals don’t use their own staff when a translator is required, they usually provide a video service or end up hiring a contractor to come in and translate while the doctors work.

You can read the full story here.

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