A Hearing Loss & Late Deafened Blog

What Accommodations Should A Hospital Provide?

In Deafness, Hearing Loss on February 14, 2008 at 2:31 am

After two back to back trips to the hospital that ended in two surgeries, I began to wonder about hospital ADA requirements.  Yeah– I know– better late than never. 

I read lips well enough that I didn’t need an interpreter. . . I thought.  I can’t use one anyway, since I’m not fluent in ASL.  My hard-of-hearing husband was able to help in most cases where I misunderstood a question.  His familiar voice and lips are easy to read, so he acted as an oral interpreter when he could.  That said, he is also somewhat hard-of-hearing.  It crossed my mind that in years to come we might not fare as well in an emergency.  We both have progressive hearing losses.  In a few more years his hearing might be bad enough, he might not be able to hear any better than me.  OR– if it were ME interpreting for HIM, we’d be in big trouble.  Still– because both times I entered the hospital through the ER, I thought it might be too much trouble to ask for . . . what??  What could I ask for???  Would they know about CART??  Oral interpreter???  What???  

Here’s an ADA Business Brief put out by the Federal Government on what kind of accommodations to reasonably expect.

ADA Business Brief/Hospitals

I’m sure the reality is far different from the ideal.  A few of you have already mentioned you’ve had less than satisfactory experiences in hospitals after requesting accommodations.  It wouldn’t hurt to have something like this Business Brief in hard copy on hand, just so you can carry it around with you and wave it in someone’s face next time they fail to follow up on your requests for reasonable accommodations.  

What is reasonable you might ask? 

The Business Brief tells all–

1)  Is it reasonable to request an oral interpreter or CART for medical emergencies when a deaf/Deaf family member is receiving emergency medical treatment? 

Yes.  The hospital should be prepared to accommodate in emergencies regardless how the D/deaf/hh person communicates.  Reasonable accommodations include:  CART, Oral interpreter, Cued speech interpreter and ASL interpreter, and YES– hospitals should be prepared to provide these in emergencies.  Dang!  I should have asked! 

2)  Should family members be counted on to interpret for other D/deaf/hh family members?

No–Family members may be too upset and caught up with the emergency themselves to interpret accurately.  Dang again!!  So true!!  While I’m a good lip-reader, I was in pain.  After the pain meds were administered, I developed a bad case of tinnitus and my ability to think/lipread became fuzzy.  Both times I was in the ER six to eight hours.  After I zoned out in a peaceful morphine-induced sleep,  my husband paced hospital corridors calling relatives and talked to doctors until the wee hours of the morning.  He stayed up and sat with me til 3am twice, then he went home and came back again at 6am.  Naturally by the next day he couldn’t keep details straight.  He was sleep-deprived and stressed.  Was it this or that?  Did the doctors say this?? Or did this one say that???  And another one say. . .?  With an interpreter present my husband could have allowed me to answer at least some of the initial questions before they shot me full of drugs.   Instead it ALL fell on him, including the history of my symptoms, which he was unclear about– because it was MY body, not his.  

3)  When is it OK to rely on simply passing notes back and forth? 

When medical treatment, information or diagnostic options aren’t being discussed.  For example– when d/Deaf/hh visitors where the restroom or coffee shop is, or when “interactive communication” isn’t expected such as giving a patient his/her bill, then a piece of paper is fine.  If the communication is “interactive,” like when a patient may have questions or may need to make decisions based on information a nurse or doctor is giving him or her, then an interpreter or CART should be provided.  We didn’t do much passing of notes, since my husband was there most the time and I read lips fairly well while awake.  Still, I am ashamed to admit there were times I “faked” it because I was tired and full of drugs and too lazy to bother with another nurse flapping her lips at me.  I depended way too much on my husband who sometimes didn’t think to ask the questions I had about side-effects and symptoms I was having.  Because again– it was MY body, not his.  An oral interpreter really should have been present and I didn’t ask for one– because I didn’t know I could!!  Dang AGAIN!!!

4)  What kind of interpreter or accommodations should a d/Deaf a person expect? 

Hospitals should be prepared to provide ASL interpreters, Cueing interpreters, oral interpreters and computer-assisted relay transcription, (CART) as stated above.  I answered this above, but it should be stated again, because this is too often ignored.  Too many hospitals are not prepared for these types of emergencies.  WHY aren’t they?  What can we do about it?  I don’t know the answer.  I’m asking.  Dang it– why do people have trouble getting accommodations in hospitals sometimes?  Is it because they don’t ask, or don’t know what to ask, or don’t know how to ask, or maybe the hospital doesn’t know what to provide because most don’t ask. . .?

5)  What kind of accommodations should a d/Deaf/hh patients expect in his/her hospital room?

If there is a television, it should have captioning.  Mine had that.  All hospitals should provide TTY or relay.  My hospital had this, and my room was fully wireless, so if you had your SK or blackberry, it would have worked.  My SK was stolen last Dec. and I STILL haven’t replaced it!  My laptop worked so I could have made a relay call if I had wanted to.  Phones should be hearing aid compatible.  Mine was.  I was surprised how well I could hear with it, despite the fact I can rarely hear on a phone these days.  I only used it to talk briefly with relatives, but still it was amazing I could hear on it at all.  My dad even called later to find out what kind of phone the hospital had because he was so surprised I could use it.  He wants me to have a phone like THAT one.  We’re going to check into it.  Additionally alarm systems should have visual alerts so that D/deaf people will know when there’s an emergency.  I never got a chance to check out the visual alarm system in my hospital.  I wish I did. 

I guess it’s’ important to point out the Business Brief emphasizes a hospital’s prerogative to offer “reasonable” accommodations.  Just because you ask for one thing doesn’t mean you’ll get exactly what you ask.  They may accommodate you differently.  The point is they will try to accommodate you in a reasonable way.  It doesn’t hurt to ask.  Even if you don’t get exactly what you want, it’s better than nothing.  So don’t be like me.  ASK!!

  1. We are sue the hospital and they don’t care! ADA LAW doesn’t help at all because it doesn’t say that hospitals must hired an interpreter. However the hospitals has the money to push you away. It is very expensive to hired a lawyer that most deaf can’t afford a lawyer. But we are not giving up! In Texas they successed and one State from East successed. Missouri is next! It used to be very good service back then till it stopped. I don’t know why but I guess they found the loop hole to avoid hireing an interpreter! They made a huge mistake! (I HOPE) 🙂

  2. Since you are becoming a “regular” at the E.R. (perish the thought) you might want to start getting your “needs” lined up in advance. Ask the hospital administration for a copy of their communication access policy.
    Start making a list of interpreters (oral or whatever suits your needs) and having them WITH YOU, when you go to the hospital.
    Don’t have a black book with your medical info in it?
    Start one!
    I have a 3″ binder with ALL my parent’s medical information, now that I am caring for them full time. BEST thing you can have! Each trip to the E.R. (like you, there have been more than we asked for) so each time I have the information at my fingertips, and also a pad and pen so that I can take notes.


  3. Don’t feel bad that you didn’t ask. There is a part of the law that the hospital should know better. In my business I target hospitals to help them not only understand the different degrees of hearing loss ranging from hard of hearing to profoundly Deaf, but also different methods of communication. Systems at most hospitals are broken, and their staff has no knowledge how to accommodate.

    I agree about what will happen in an emergency. My husband is Deaf and if I am brought into the ER how will they know what to do? I have been in touch with several hospitals, most of them don’t know who is even responsible for the task of evaluating patient needs that have hearing loss.

    The question about “should family members be able to interpret” is a very big one for me. I don’t understand how a human being in a hospital setting doesn’t think that asking a 12 year old to interpret for their parents is harmful. We have to change the thinking of people as well as help facilitate policy and procedures.

    Here is a post I did a few weeks ago, let me know if you need any resources, I have plenty of research, just waiting to get the website completed.


  4. I also sue two clinic and one hosptial did not provided an interpreter on 24 hours and 7 days. They dont know where it is 24 hours phone number for emergency room.

    One clinic hire one high school from two blocks from their Eye Clinic. I have hard time to understand her.
    They seem always hire bad interpreter without certificate. I agree with Steve’s comment. It is very loopholes.
    You can contact NAD. I am supposed to talk with the person today from NAD and will find out more details about the high school student why they choose cheaper.. Forgot about medical vocubulary the girl should not intepreter while school hour.

    Also I think you have a right to request an oral interpreter. Most of ASL agencies do training as professional oral interperter. There is not always many as lack of oral interpreter. I never expereinced the situation


  5. Steve and Deaf Pixie,
    I understand your frustrations, and I realize there are many problems/loopholes with the ADA. It often seems we have to fight tooth and nail to get any kind of accommodations. I’m particularly concerned about medical clinics and hospitals trying to get away with using uncertified interpreters, Deaf Pixie! What if she gave you misinformation because of her inability to interpret accurately. Please keep me posted on this. You also know me as Kim of Living the Questions, and I believe we live in the same metropolitan area. I am very, very concerned about what you’re telling me.

  6. Lucky Larry– I love your suggestions. Generally I’m in good health, but it never hurts to be prepared. 🙂

  7. Hello Codadiva (smile) I recognize you. I read “Do you ever play the Deaf card” a few days ago. Funny. Yes– I look forward to see where you go with this new business. I wonder how different it would be if we spoke Spanish instead of “can’t hear”? I might be wrong, but I have a feeling everyone in hospitals know what to do if a Spanish or Chinese speaking patient shows up. I have nothing against immigrants, I really don’t. I just want everyone to have equal access. Truth be told, I don’t use ASL much. I would have been fine with CART.

  8. Last time I went to an emergency room was a few years ago in Tucson, AZ. When I wrote on the paper they give you to fill out that I was hard of hearing, they asked if I wanted and ASL interpreter. Surprised me. Since I don’t know ASL, I said no, but did not think to ask for anything else. My hearing has declined since then. I could hear then as long as the person stood close enough and spoke clearly. One doctor was always in a rush, and when my husband was around, he didn’t want to repeat himself–acted as if my husband could tell me later. I made him repeat. You are right–it’s not okay to have to depend on relatives to do it all. They are stressed enough. We need to get the word out that people should demand what they need every time they go to the hospital. Hopefully, blogging and websites can help. Good job!

  9. Jan,
    I had similar problems. It was hit and miss with the nurses. Some were great about looking right at me and enunciating clearly, others had trouble. I finally had to have a chat with one nurse who was as sweet as could be, but she was constantly on the move and chattering. She couldn’t seem to look at me while talking no matter how many times I reminded her. To make matters worse her voice was not in a good pitch for me. Several nurses had accents making them difficult to lipread. Really when I think about it now it was quite challenging, especially considering how doped up I was. There were a few times I caught my husband answering questions for me and his answers were not quite accurate, like only half correct. You know how it is– his interpretation of what I had said earlier. They REALLY needed to be asking ME these things, not him. At times I felt like a child.

  10. butterfly_blogger,

    The interpreter from Forgein language. They are not always elevuate interpreter if they are certificate or qaulaifty interpeter. ” Qualifty interpreter” mean it’snot matter if the interpreter have a SEE language without certificate. I am not use S.E.E. interpreter conflicted .. A.D.A lawyer will asked me why I against the hosptial or interpreter.

    Who will pay for liabitiy .. Forgien language interpreter doesn’t have a liablity insurance if the person interpreter wrong medical vocbulary. Who is responise? Same time the interpreter still lied to forgien language service. I have to against doctor because I warned them about the service. They were not listen me since. Doctor had to pay for lawusit expense. it is hurt their business.. You have to research your own and explainations. I told doctor one time.. You can sue Agencies if you learn that the person who is interpreter doesn’t have a certificate. How do you know if they are certificate or not?

    Your own to research about the forgein interpreter. I often asked intepreter which one you are working for Agencies? ASK the person if you puzzle if you dont understand and question the interpreter before enter to visit doctor appointment. Forgien language often never call any medical office to let them know that the forgien language intepreter lack of responsible to let the medical clinic to know that they could not find a interpreter show up.

    True story it was happened in the past of year ago, Three weeek ago.. I called the clinic to requested for interpreter. I show up and found that no interpreter. They use forgien language service, UNiversal Language Service that medical office use their business. They never notifity the clinic that they could not find a person who is able to interpreter avaiable. you have to call the clinic before two days prior to see doctor visit. Check your medical office before I go to doctor office. if they say no .. They have to call agencies to ask if they are follow up with interpreter avaiable.

    Often Unviversal Language Service say I am sorry interpreter suppose to show up .. I think They are heavy traffic.. over and over lying. I had to reschedule and over and over. they never show up.. What happened to my daughter’s medical has been delayed and refused to find a Deaf Agenices. They say it is too much charge. Universal Language win. The clinic lost for pay for A.D.A.

    It is too complications! You can write and complain about Universal Language Service for B.B.B ( Better Business Beau ( I forgot last one of words..excuse me? )

  11. Deaf Pixie,
    Clearly the ADA isn’t working for Deaf people who need ASL interpreters in medical situations, and I DO agree you NEED an interpreter, not CART or some other accommodation. I think the word you were looking for was Better Business Bureau. Did you follow up with the Office of Civil Rights? It almost sounds like you have been denied medical treatment because some doctors don’t want to pay for your interpreter. This isn’t right!! I wonder if the cost of an interpreter should be picked up by medical insurances in this case– so that the burden wouldn’t fall on doctors???

  12. it is already happening in a few places…some hopsitals provide rollout computer carts where patients or family can access VRS..

    some argued that HIPPA wont allow it. but i understand that some folks had elected to waive HIPAA for the day or for that particular visit.

    a new world is coming..

  13. Butter_blogger,

    You are right about ADA is not working well for me.. but, the ER do have a 24 hours a call with their preference interpreter agencies. but one problem I have been in ER 10 times in 20 years. Torn my muscle shoulder by deaf client pulled my arm. ,They could not able to reach that agencies and never return their.. I found out it was forgien langauage service doesnt have a 24 hours a 7 day. They lied to Hosptial.

    But, they never find notebook in forgien book for phone business.

    I should written a Better Business Bureau. Yes I did talk to ADA lawyer very recently.. he is processed from last June 8th- 9th. ..

    I learn that insurance cannot pay interpreter fee.. They say Hospital suppose to take their out of pocket to pay interpreter fee… ADA lawyer say if you are wheelchair and cannot move Insurance will pay the Caregiveer to help the disabities wheelchair.. but Deaf inteprereter cannot recieved a money from my health insurance.

    Of course it is very confusion!!

    Remember that 85% any of disabities blind, Deaf or wheelchair patient got cancer and short life. because doctor think they don’t need to examine breast exam for prevent cancer spread worsen, etc. etc. The disables patient have right to sue doctor for neglect..
    My daughter one of them she got serious bone issues. Scoloios. Doctor wont give her a xray. Bad news I could not able to find a ADA lawyer to file sue to doctor up to 180 days. I was stunned and want to file up to 7 years. A.D.A lawyer wont work on your medical issues after 180 days.

  14. MATT,

    I have hard time with doctor about HIPAA on VRS. YOu are not alone. I’ve heard of their abuse.. but you have a right to call NAD to tell them aobut the clinic won’t call you if you need to discuss on your medical issues over VRS or TTY Relay Service because of HIPAA.

    Many time Deaf people are not familiar about HIPAA over VRS or TTY Relay Service.

    The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA)

    The website click: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Health_Insurance_Portability_and_Accountability_Act

    I agree with Matt, One things if you have a deaf and blind patient they have to hire certificate interpreter, NOt foregin language service. They dont have a propely training for ASL intepreter for DB( Deaf-Blind) There is so complications with A.D.A often caused Deaf blind patient becamse so frustrated when they will never understand uncertificate intepreter.PERIOD. You have right to tell doctor. The interpreter are phony!

  15. Butterfuly_ blogger and Matt

    I wish we could use 7 years instead of 180’s days.. It seem frustrated for deaf people to not able to find a ADA lawyer. They wont hire interpreter if I need to talk with ADA lawyer. That’s difficult timefor me.

    Ruined everything our family’s personal difficult becasue of ADA and HIPAA and They won’t talk on TTY RElay or as TTY relay service or IP-Relay Service.

  16. Dear Butterfly Blogger,

    I am really sorry not only did you have to suffer the physical pain but also the frustration and denial of your needs to help in the communications department.

    It seems that there needs to be a national campaign to educate first ourselves so we know what we are entitled to and then to educate our Dr., Dentist, Hospitals, Paramedics etc.

    I had my CI implanted at one of the largest hospitals in the area and they had no accommodations
    for me at all. At 5 AM they are asking me all kinds of questions and I am very nervous and at that hour of the morning not thinking too clearly and to be honest with you I don’t even know if I gave the correct answers.

    Reading your story certainly needs to be a must read for all of us that are deaf, late deaf or hard of hearing.

    Thank you so much for sharing this. I am going to pass this on for others to also read.


  17. I am reading the exchanges above with interest. As the manager of the department responsible for providing interpreters at our hospital, I want to say that hospitals by law have some very specific responsibilities. If you have identified that your hospital is lacking in what they have to offer, may I suggest that a coalition of deaf people get together and ask the hospital for a planning meeting?
    Take the best, most professional interpreter you can hire to this first meeting and start building bridges with the administrators. Hospitals want to provide safe environments for patients and are under considerable national pressure to do so. What some are finally coming to understand is that effective communication is essential to patient safety. Put your requests/concerns in terms of patient safety, it will cary the most weight! Commit to helping the hospital…maybe they need deaf people to come teach their staff about deafness, maybe they would be open to having deaf help evaluate VRI systems or identify good agencies to hire interpreters from… Offer your help, rather than threatening lawsuits and you may just accomplish something wonderful that impacts people in your community for the future…for your children! If you can initiate contact in a collaborative manner rather than waiting until a deaf person is in the Emergency Department having a health crisis/heart attack/whatever, it will benefit everyone.

    There may be some hospitals who don’t know (care?) about interpreting issues but in every hospital, you can find some individual who does and may champion doing the right thing from within. It may be the patient advocate or social worker or the director of nursing or chaplain or the risk manager but there will be someone who will be or can become invested if they are educated. Waving your rights in the face of the doctor or nurse at the moment they may be trying to save a life will accomplish little. Creating a partnership ahead of time to listen to each other and establish a realistic plan is better.

    My hospital is in a community of large deaf population and we try very hard to make sure every patient has effective communication.In the first 6 months of this budget year, for sign language alone, we have spent $96,000 on staff interpreters, VRI, and agency back-up for times our on-staff interpreters are not available. That is a significant expense in any budget. I tell you the amount not so you will be impressed, but so you will be reassured that there are hospitals out there which can serve as a model for those that have not yet gotten on board. We are by no means perfect, but we are committed to trying to do the right thing. We have a video phone which we roll to the bedside of inpatients so they can be in touch with family while they are here. We have adaptive devices like door and baby cry alarms. Our hospital operators have TTYs to answer as well as loan to patients if they request one. If a patient does not receive a hospital provided interpreter for whatever reason, we take that seriously and try to figure out what happened so it does not happen again.

    We educate staff about not relying on lip reading, not using family and friends and to focus on the patient, not the interpreter. The law says “qualified interpreter” but it does not define “qualified.” We have decided our minimum standard is RID certified. Using family and friends not only means using unqualified people but also breaches the patient’s confidentiality – therefore the HIPAA laws.

    Someone in the blog mentioned about spoken (foreign)language interpreters. Yes, many communities are also asked to treat patients who primarily speak Spanish or Russian or whatever. Hospitals have responsibilities there also and those laws come to us not from the ADA/Dept of Justice but under the Office of Civil Rights. We have to do the right thing for those pateints as well but the challenges are different because there are so many languages/countries of origin!

    Anyway, I hope some of this is food for thought, I intended it to be helpful so I hope it was. Thanks for the forum.

  18. Nan,
    Bravo for your hospital. I have to agree that finding the right individual at the hospital is a very big chore. Another few titles, Patient Care specialist, Development department and even human resources.

    Nan, I’d love to talk to you about highlighting your positive successes in a hospital setting on my new business blog. Please feel free to contact me on my personal blog when you can. http://codadiva.wordpress.com

    For all, it’s not easy to deal with health issues and frustration, I hope there will be a major impact sooner than later.

  19. Nan,

    Speaking of about for foreign)language interpreters.

    Let me to explaination to you, Nan Universal Language Service in Bellevue and International Language Service doesnt not elevuated to the interpreter who is experiened with rusty ASL language they have no knowledge if the interpreter is “fraud or scam”.

    One problem that ADA wrote a qualifed is meaning not matter if you are skilling with ASL gesture. Most of time the hosptial looking for cheap price. I almost end up with wrong medicine reaction that I am allergy to medicine. because the interpreter does not familiar with Medical vocbulary as person who is interpeter doesn’t have a certificated from NAD or RID. One problem I mad about ADA is too confusion.

    One time Universal Language Service, ULS most are Russian, Chinese or whatever name of countries who can skilled with speaking as translated. Universal language often hired,
    (B.C.C) Belleuve Community College student in Bellevue, Washington that Universal Language Service dont know the student From B.C.C. only learned ASL 1 or 2 Classes. I cannot beleive how ULS hire without asking them if they do have a NAD or RID.
    Second thing, a problem that they dont have liabiity insurance if deaf patient died with wrong medicine who is pay from Hosptial or interpreter who is not familiar medical vocublary.

    I against ULS, International Language Service and Dynamantic Language often hire without investiaged on their ASL language are too slow and contuine more problem that Services doesnt have a 24 hours a 7 day.Similair.. ULS agenicies doesn’t have a training properly and contuine lying to Hosptial that they do have a 24 hour a 7 days. They never show up in E.R. 10 time I was in ER. They obsession over forgien language doesnt have a 24 hour s call. over and over.
    I told ER to use Deaf Service as Agencies with a ASL intprereter do have a cerficate of RID or NAD. That’s depend on They will hire non certificate interpreter with a training from Community College as BCC.. BCC instructor failed to tell student to not hire a job a foregin language. That’s dangerous and even can jeopparay with sue to hospital with wrongful medicine who is reaponsible.. ADA say it is Doctor fault or ER.. not interpreter. I was stunned!

    Bad idea to hire interpreter from Foregein language is too dangerous.

  20. Nan:

    You misunderstood that my statement that I have huge problem with forgien language they are understaff. maybe less 50 interpreters who working for Universal Language they never return the medical office that to keep let them know if Universal Language service did not find ASL interpreter avaiable during overnight. HUGE problem that they never call medical office to let them know.. Too many lying!!!! I called Universsal language I asked them how many staff who doesnt have a certificate interpreter for ASL. They say they are from DSHS, Department Social Health Service dont care to hire bad interpreter. Universal Language never have a 24 hour a day. Even appointment I make an appointment more than 3 week. The interpreter agencies never able to find a interpreter and find time. Too hassle.

    Six years later, I called Universal Language Service. My conversation that “I told the front desk. I am fired you. because you never call my children’s doctor office many time. No show up by Unlversal Language which they are bad. I am going to written a Business Better Bauear to investage. Office of Civil Right is not working as A.D.A. a problem that they cannot fix Universal lanaugage Service.

    One of my daughter’s medical getting worse and worsen. The doctor nagged me to abuse me to enocurage my kids to interpeter

    Nan wrote: ( She is wrong)
    Someone in the blog mentioned about spoken (foreign)language interpreters. Yes, many communities are also asked to treat patients who primarily speak Spanish or Russian or whatever. Hospitals have responsibilities there also and those laws come to us not from the ADA/Dept of Justice but under the Office of Civil Rights. We have to do the right thing for those pateints as well but the challenges are different because there are so many languages/countries of origin!

  21. Nan,
    Thanks so much for your reply and the inside information about how hospitals operate. I will definitely pursue this further. 🙂 I never even thought about the breach of confidentiality issues when hospitals rely on family members to interpret. That’s HUGE!

  22. When my mother was in the hospital having lung cancer removed,
    I was trying to deal with her nurses and doctors and healthcare
    workers…. and had to constantly remind
    them that I was HoH and they needed to face me. My hearing is pretty good
    compared to most HoH people I deal with and know personally,
    but in an environment like that, things get very discombobulated and

    It was hell. Hell because no one cared. They either kept talking at the
    level they were, wouldn’t turn to face me or just stopped talking completely.

    Had I been a PATIENT, it would have sent me into one of my “episodes”, and
    the stress alone would have been a detriment to my hearing disorder. NO STRESS people…..

    I’m glad there’s a place on the weblog to voice our fears…. and to possibly find solutions to

    Thanks again to Miss Pearl and Kim!! Kudos and hugs!!

  23. to codadiva.wordpress.com – your site is blocked on my access to internet, please post an email address. Thanks for your feedback,Nan

  24. to deaf pixie: I am unfamiliar with Universal Language, I assume from your comments that this is a local agency that operates wherever you live that you are unhappy with. I was only trying to clarify that the laws come from 2 different branches of government but the result is the same. Hospitals are supposed to have interpreting services for both deaf and foreign/spoken languages. Sorry for any misunderstanding. Nan

  25. Nan,

    You are not alone that many time forgein interpreter doesnt elevuated on the non certificate interpreter. There is forgien doesnt not familiar with interpreter’s skill is really bad.. for example I am using AsL. interpreter use home sign with S.E.E., Sign Exact English. We are not fitting each other of our language.

    The reason why I plan to file complaint to Better Business Bureau in Seattle to complaint letter to B.B.B. the reason why I need to search that business address and phone.. Universal Language Service doesnt want deaf community to find out. I am only one I found out more about them.

    They doesnt have a liabitiy insurance for error medicine to deaf patient. It is jeaopoary issues.

    Deaf Pixie

  26. I recently visited the emergency room of our local hospital. From the moment, I sat with the triage nurse I explained that I have hearing loss. My husband was with me and assisted me to fill in gaps when the staff would turn their head, mumble, etc. It was troubling being wheeled down halls for various tests and later realizing that the person transporting me was having a full conversation that I hadn’t responded to. Then being left in the hall to wait for my turn. If I was fortunate enough to have an overhead mirror I would use that so I could see when someone was walking up behind me so I wouldn’t be startled. After tests I was treated and released. Two days later I was back in the ER to be admitted.
    I guess I should mention I am a nurse and I typically try not to disclose that when I am on the patient side because sometimes people are then on guard. I let them treat me as they would other patients and in the instance when I know they are not performing up to par I politely let them know. Although I disclosed my disability staff members needed to be constantly reminded especially when my husband was not there as a buffer. This is the first occasion for me to have been in the hospital since losing my hearing (another step in my evolution). Someone recommended making cards to provide the staff stating I cannot hear without my hearing aids. (Oh, yeah I was terrified to take them out because I wouldn’t hear when people entered the room.) I was afraid to sleep because my IV ran out and within the three days I spent in the hospital the second it had to be changed 3 times. (This is one of the better hospitals in our area-kind of scary to imagine how things would have been at a less prominent facility.) The other problem was having foreign staff members assigned to care for me. I have a huge deficit in clarity adding an accent to the mix really muddled the conversations. I survived and learned how to advocate for myself in yet another setting. It is important that we speak up and not just accept that solutions are not offered. One of the pet peeves I had was the call button for the nurse. I wouldn’t answer because I couldn’t understand what they were saying. When they came to the room I would remind them I cannot hear adequately to communicate through the speaker system.

    A friend always says, “knock one tree down at a time and soon you’ll look back and have cleared the forest.”

  27. Lynn,
    I like that saying about knocking one tree down at a time. I try to be pleasant when advocating for myself. Most people just don’t know what to do. Even in hospitals. It’s not the employees faults that they haven’t received proper training on how to deal with us. If we’re nice while showing them what needs to be done, then next time maybe they’ll treat the next one with hearing loss better. 🙂

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