Baltimore Medical Malpractice Lawyers: Deaf Patients’ with Medical Providers

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If you or a family member has been hospitalized for an injury or an illness, understanding a doctor’s diagnosis, the explanation of symptoms, and recommended instructions for medications and dosages can be overwhelming and confusing. Imagine going through this same scenario, only you are deaf. Communicating with doctors and nurses by trying to read lips or writing notes can be difficult and frustrating, often leaving hearing-impaired patients feeling they did not get the treatment they needed. Without quality communication, Maryland medical malpractice lawyers note that there is an enhanced risked of misdiagnosis or prescription error.

According to a 2006 study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 37 million adults in the U.S. have either partial or complete hearing loss. The CEO of the National Association of the deaf reported that hospitals, medical centers, and doctors’ offices are at the top of the list when it comes to providing little to no communication assistance to individuals who are hearing-impaired. Rosenblum’s nonprofit group receives approximately 30 complaints each month that are healthcare-related, including feelings of frustration over having to write notes to describe symptoms to a doctor, or trying to lip-read what a doctor is saying about a surgery he or she is recommending.

Even after the enactment of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) —  which requires entities like doctor’s offices and hospitals to provide effective communication options to deaf or hearing-impaired patients—  many feel that not enough is being done to meet their needs. However, many physicians are not aware of the ADA’s requirements, or that there are resources available to help patients who are hearing-impaired.

Technology That Can Help Deaf Patients

A study by the CDC revealed that individuals with significant, or total hearing loss are almost three times as likely to suffer from other health issues, like diabetes, high blood pressure, alcoholism, and obesity. In order to address these issues and improve communication with hearing-impaired patients, hospitals and doctor’s offices can provide more sign-language interpreters, closed-caption devices, text telephones, and video-conferencing tools that link to off-site interpreters.

Hearing-impaired physicians face many of the same issues as deaf patients. The UC Davis School of Medicine devised a tech-assisted solution for one of its hearing-impaired medical students during her surgical rotation. A microphone was clipped to the surgeon’s scrubs, which linked the operating room to an off-site transcriber. The device typed the conversation in real time, enabling the student to understand every word the surgeon said.

Maryland Medical Malpractice Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Hearing-Impaired Patients

If you or a loved one have been mistreated, misdiagnosed, or received negligent medical care as a result of being hearing-impaired, contact the dedicated and compassionate Maryland medical malpractice lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Your hearing impairment should not compromise the quality of care that you receive. We will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve and protect your rights every step of the way. For a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.

Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent clients throughout Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Parkville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.