The first language of the Deaf community is British Sign Language. Very few hearing people are aware of how complex this language is, but just like English, BSL has its own grammar, syntax and lexicons.
To demonstrate how different English and BSL are, we just need to look at how both language introduce people. The hearing population say, ‘Hello, my name is Joe’, whereas the Deaf population sign ‘Name me Joe’. Now imagine the confusion a Deaf person faces when they see written English. All the words will be in a foreign order to that they are used to.
The same confusion applies to spoken English. In British Sign Language, one sign can often represent a whole sentence. On the other end of the scale, some English words do not have a sign equivalent. For that reason, going to the Doctors and relying on lipreading and passing pieces of paper back and forward is not an accessible form of communication for a Deaf patient that uses BSL.
It is the equivalent of a hearing person going to the doctors in a foreign country, trying to explain their symptoms in a language they are not used to, and then receive treatment that they cannot understand.