A harrowing video has been posted on Facebook of a deaf female hospital patient who apparently doesn’t know what drugs have been given to her and doesn’t know where she’s being taken to as her bed gets wheeled away.
Jasmine Jo, from London, made the video on her hospital bed using her mobile phone to tell a Facebook group that she was feeling anxious because of the poor communication between her and hospital staff as well suffering dizziness and sickness related to the reason she was in hospital. “I don’t understand what I’m being told. I’m being given injections but I don’t understand what’s happening” she said during the video.
Jasmine explained to camera that she was feeling anxious and had asked a doctor and a nurse about why she had been given a small bottle of medicine to take. Clearly ill and upset, Jasmine almost vomits into a dish and and then moments later, a nurse hands her a small flimsy piece of folded paper and a pen to write down what she wants to say. Another nurse appears to have some understanding of sign language as she correctly voices one part of the conversation but doesn’t utilise this skill further.
The first nurse replies verbally to Jasmine’s unseen written question telling her, while she is looking in another direction, that she will be moved. Jasmine didn’t understand and doesn’t seem to know what the nurses are doing.
Once the bed begins to move, Jasmine appears panicked and signs: “Where are we going?” A nurse then writes down the destination with Jasmine repeatedly making the sign for ‘I don’t understand’. The nurse continues to verbalise to Jasmine with no effect. The video ends with Jasmine looking worried as she is pushed through a hospital corridor.
The video was posted in the ‘Spit the Dummy and Campaign for BSL Act’ Facebook Group page where sign language users are encouraged to share their experiences of the problems they encounter with the aim of pressuring the government into improving rights for deaf people.
Jasmine posted another video two days later after two members of the Facebook group went to her rescue and acted as interpreters. “I feel better.” She said in the second video. “We sat down with the doctor and nurse and they explained everything to me. I am much happier. It didn’t work when we were having to write everything down.”
Serious problems for sign language users in hospitals isn’t a new phenomenon. A survey by Action on Hearing Loss last year showed widespread dissatisfaction with the way sign language users are treated in healthcare settings. 57% of respondents have been confused about how to take their medication because no sign language interpreter was provided and 10% had taken medication incorrectly. Some deaf people say that they put off appointments because of communication problems – a potentially deadly scenario.
This story in May told how a deaf patient in Scotland was left isolated for 12 days with no interpreter and this tragic story told of how a hearing son was forced to tell his deaf father he was going to die of liver cancer at an unexpected meeting with doctors.
By Andy Palmer, The Limping Chicken’s Editor-at-Large.
Andy volunteers for the Peterborough and District Deaf Children’s Society on their website, deaf football coaching and other events as well as working for a hearing loss charity. Contact him on twitter @LC_AndyP (views expressed are his own).
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