Imagine going into hospital for several operations, without understanding exactly what was going to happen to you. You’d feel more than a little vulnerable, right? Well that’s exactly what happened to Michael May, a 27 year old BSL user from Plymouth.
The Plymouth Herald has reported how Michael, a patient at Derriford Hospital, had two operations despite being unable to understand the procedures he was going through.
Michael told the paper that in all his consultations and assessments he was given a BSL interpreter only once. The article reports how he felt “trapped” and as though he had been treated like a “second class citizen.”
Talking to The Herald through an interpreter, Michael said: “I feel so let down. The care I’ve had from nursing staff has been great but the communication has been a complete and utter breakdown.
“I’ve felt trapped. I’ve wanted to be able to understand things, be involved with my treatment and I couldn’t. I haven’t been able to understand my care. I have felt just like a doll in the system, a toy on a conveyor belt rather than a human being.
“I believe I’m not the only one. I think there are many deaf people who’ve had the same problems I’ve had. I feel we’re being treated like second-class citizens and we’ve had enough.”
Michael also told the Herald that he did not know what his most recent operation, on May 24, involved or why he has to inject himself in the stomach twice a day for six weeks.
The hospital has since apologised. However, major questions have to be asked about access to communication for Deaf patients in the healthcare system.
Research carried out earlier this year showed that over 80% of Deaf patients have felt frustrated after attending an appointment without an interpreter, which we reported on in this article. Rather than being the exception, what happened to Michael is increasingly the norm.
You can read the full story here: http://www.thisisplymouth.co.uk/Hospital-says-sorry-deaf-patient-left-trapped/story-16302360-detail/story.html
The Limping Chicken is supported by Deaf media company Remark!, training and consultancy Deafworks, provider of sign language services Deaf Umbrella, the National Deaf Children’s Society’s Look, Smile Chat campaign, and the National Theatre’s captioned plays.
The Limping Chicken is the world's most popular Deaf blog, and is edited by Deaf journalist and filmmaker Charlie Swinbourne.
The site exists thanks to our supporters. Check them out below:
- Signature: Leading awarding body for BSL qualifications
- Ai-Media: Remote captioning. Find out the benefits of live captioning at university!
- Bellman & Symfon: home alerting solutions
- Deaf Umbrella: sign language interpreting and communications support
- BSL Zone: TV programmes in BSL for the Deaf community
- Stellar Communications: Speech-to-Text services
- Appa: Communication services for Deaf, Deafblind and hard of hearing people
- SignLive: Online video interpreting for Deaf people
- SignVideo: Instant BSL video interpreting online
- 121 Captions: captioning and speech-to-text services
- Eyewitness Media: TV and film from a Deaf perspective
- The National Theatre: Captioned and BSL accessible theatre in London
- Doncaster School for the Deaf: education for Deaf children
- Signworld: Learn BSL online!
- Helen Foulkes Translations: BSL translations
- RAD Tax Advice: Tax and Tax Credit info for Deaf people
- Performance Interpreting: BSL interpreting at concerts
- National Deaf Children's Society: The leading charity for deaf children
- Signed Culture: Advocating for BSL access to arts and culture
- SignHealth: healthcare charity for Deaf people
- CJ Interpreting: communication support in BSL
- British Society for Mental Health and Deafness: Promoting positive mental health for deaf people
- Action Deafness Communications: sign language and Red Dot online video interpreting
- BSLcourses.co.uk: Provider of online BSL courses
- Association of Notetaking Professionals: The professional body representing Electronic and Manual Notetakers
- Sign Solutions: communication support, training and translation
- InterpretersLive: On demand BSL video interpretation
- Hamilton Lodge School in Brighton: education for Deaf children
- Lipspeaker UK: specialist lipspeaking support
- Hearing Choices: Australian hearing aid specialists
- Elmfield School, Bristol: Inclusive education for Deaf pupils
- deafPLUS: BSL advice helpline
- Exeter Deaf Academy: education for Deaf children
- Royal Shakespeare Company: Captioned and BSL interpreted performances (see dates here)
- Royal School for the Deaf, Derby: Residential education for deaf children