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Ray, Employment lawyer
Category: Employment Law
Satisfied Customers: 42330
Experience:  30 years in Employment law
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I have a deaf sister who wanted to see a dr about her

Customer Question

I have a deaf sister who wanted to see a dr about her diabetes. He refused to see her without an interpreter and told her she would have to pay for one herself.
I have a deaf friend that recently had open heart surgery and I was there to interpret during the heart Cath. But was not able to come for the open heart surgery. I had given them my number to face time me if needed but they never used it during his 5 day hospital stay. They obtained consent without an interpreter. When it was time for discharge, He didn't understand why they were sending him to the nursing home for rehab. He has a mom that signs very poorly and that's it.
There are several more instances where deaf patients go into our local hospital and never receive an interpreter. What could we do about this?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Employment Law
Expert:  Ray replied 1 year ago.

Hi and welcome to JA.Ray here to help you today.

You can sue the entity here for failure to provide such services under the ADA.

Hospitals, for instance, must provide an appropriate means of communication to any patients, family members or hospital visitors who may be hearing impaired. This is applicable in all hospital areas, from the emergency room to the gift shop.

Here the ADA specifies that an effective form of communication may consist simply of a written note, but if a conversation is more complicated — such as explaining a patient’s symptoms or a medical procedure — a qualified ASL interpreter may be necessary.

That seems to be the setting in the hospital with the doctor a note really doesn't explain the medical situation and options here.

According to ADA standards, it is usually up to the institution in question to provide — and pay for — any necessary sign language interpreting. If an institution does not comply by providing ASL interpreting to meet the needs of a hard of hearing individual, it may suffer serious penalties.

In a 2008 disability discrimination and punitive damages case, a deaf woman prevailed in suit against medical doctor who refused to provide her with a sign language interpreter after she asked for one on multiple occasions. The jury agreed that this qualified as discrimination and ruled unanimously in favor of a $400,000 award.

Also know that Wal-Mart has also been faced with disability discrimination complaints. In 2000, the mega retailer settled a case for $135,500, brought by two deaf individuals who had applied for jobs at a Wal-Mart in Tucson, Arizona. The lawsuit was brought under the ADA.

As part of the settlement, Wal-Mart agreed to provide sign language interpreting to both individuals during their training and orientation, as well as during any scheduled meetings and work evaluations.

So suits over these issues or threats of such suits should get this matter corrected if not you need a local lawyer and sue for damages, lawyer fees, and costs.It has been done before and successfully.

I appreciate the chance to help you today.Thanks again.

Expert:  Ray replied 1 year ago.

Here is a newer case, this just terrible, they can do better or pay if you sue them.

I appreciate the chance to help you today.Consider a lawyer here to sue as you can see it has become all too common if people are mistreated under the ADA.