Law Offices of Steven I. Kastner
providing a hands-on approach to every case
Call for a free consultation
More than 35 years of experience

Deaf patients suffer from hospital negligence in California

Doctors and nurses must communicate with the patients who come into their emergency rooms in order to provide effective treatment. They must be able to understand what bought a patient into the hospital, a patient's medical history and allergies, as well as ongoing symptoms. When medical providers fail to effectively communicate with patients, errors may occur causing serious harm. This could also constitute hospital negligence.

Effective communication can be particularly difficult for California patients who are deaf. Those patients who are hard of hearing or deaf, which is approximately 37 million adults nationwide, report repeated problems in communicating with their medical providers. Interpreter services are severely lacking in California hospitals, which can result in emergency room error. Even patients who are able to read lips may have difficulty communicating with a doctor who speaks with a foreign accent, wears a surgical mask, or has facial hair. According to one California nonprofit agency serving the deaf and hard of hearing community, they receive complaints regarding poor medical care at least weekly.

These failures of communication on the part of hospital staff occur despite the longstanding Americans with Disabilities Act, which requires doctor's offices and hospitals to provide effective communication methods to all their patients, including those with hearing impairments. The federal guidelines indicate that communication methods such as asking family members to interpret or communicating via written notes are not sufficiently effective, and better methods should be used. Effective communication is essential, as it can help prevent a misdiagnosis or delayed treatment, and failure to provide this communication may constitute medical malpractice.

If you or a loved one has hearing loss and has received poor medical care due to a hospital's failure to provide effective communication methods, you may have a cause of action for medical malpractice. An attorney may be able to offer guidance on how to best pursue the compensation to which a victim may be entitled.

Source: The Sacramento Bee, "Deaf people encounter troubles with medical care," Claudia Buck, July 11, 2016

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information