The law through the Americans with Disabilities Act requires all hospitals to provide adequate communication means to help those with physical impairments. However, most hospitals have not complied with this requirement.
A case in point is the current lawsuit filed against Lifespan Corp, Rhodes Island Hospital and its pediatric wing, Hasbro, by the Rhode Island Association of the Deaf. The association filed the suit on behalf of two mothers: Peggy Mehri and Kathryn Arcana.
Peggy, widowed in May this year, has had issues with the Rhode Island Hospital for some time. Both Peggy and her husband had a hearing impairment. Her woes at the facility began with the diagnosis of her husband with lymphoma complications.
Fleeing the Hospital
On different occasions, they requested for an interpreter with little success. The suit says that at some point when Semi got hospitalized with dehydration sepsis, he was so frustrated by the poor communication that he tried to flee from the facility.
Another part of Peggy’s suit involves her son. Recently, he was admitted at Hasbro for an apparent discomfort. Again the facility failed to provide an interpreter for her. What’s worse, they did not inform her of her son’s shoulder injury or that he needed a psychiatric.
Kathryn is also widowed and hearing impaired. Her issues with Hasbro dates back to 2014. Her son Luke C suffers from an inherited blood disorder and sickle cell anemia. However, according to the suit, the hospital has continuously refused to provide effective ways of communicating to her the condition of her child despite taking him through numerous blood transfusions.
The culmination of her woes was the removal of Luke’s spleen without her informed consent. She became so distressed with Hasbro’s lack of initiative to help her that she fell sick, the suit adds.
According to the lawsuit, the lack of interpreters at Rhodes Island Hospital is due to the facility’s unwillingness to pay fair wages to interpreters.
The President of RIAD, Todd Murano, stated that this had caused unfathomable distress and frustration to the deaf community in Rhodes Island.
Points of interest
The lawsuit demands that the US District Court finds the facility guilty of discrimination against these women. It also asks that the court orders Lifespan Corp to employ qualified interpreters as demanded by law.