“‘I was panicked’: Deaf patients struggle to get interpreters in medical emergencies” – STATNews

deafJohn Paul Jebian communicates with his son Pierre, in Miami, Fla. – Scott McIntyre for STAT

by Leila Miller

“The chest pain was bad enough. Then John Paul Jebian asked staff at Baptist Hospital of Miami for an American Sign Language interpreter. They instead brought a video screen with an internet link to a remote interpreter to help him understand what the doctors and nurses were saying.

“Jebian, who is deaf, said a nurse struggled to set up the equipment as he anxiously wondered whether he was suffering a heart attack.

“‘I was panicked,’ said Jebian, 46, recalling that July 2012 day. ‘I didn’t know if I had to have surgery. Everything was going past me. I didn’t know what was happening, when it was happening.’

“With the minutes ticking by and staff still unable to operate the video interpreting service, the hospital turned to another option.”

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