Hospital: University College Hospital, London
Date: December 2013
Information source: The Guardian
On December 7th, Nadia Hassan and her partner Hulusi Bati went to hospital because Nadia was experiencing stomach pains. She was in the late stages of pregnancy.
An interpreter was not available.
Hospital staff used Hulusi’s 12 year old daughter to relay information.
The next day, Nadia went into labour.
The hospital booked an interpreter but the interpreter finished work at 8pm.
Nadia went into labour at 9.30pm and there were complications. Forceps were used during the birth but no one could explain to her what was happening.
Nadia’s sister-in-law was asked to interpret but her sign language skills were basic. She could not relay medical information.
After Nadia and Hulusi’s son was born, doctors took him away to give him injections. Nadia didn’t understand why.
The doctor gave a ‘thumbs up’ and that was all the explanation Nadia got.
Nadia didn’t have an interpreter when she met the midwife. She couldn’t fully understand information about breast-feeding instructions or when doctors visited for medical check-ups.
Hulusi complained that doctors and hospital staff had no Deaf awareness.
He said there should be ‘24-hour service for access to interpreters’ and Deaf people should be treated equally to hearing people.
- All medical professionals – doctors, dentists, paramedics, midwives, nurses, everyone – must be Deaf aware. SignHealth visits hospitals and surgeries to teach staff about Deaf awareness, communication and culture.
- Deaf patients have the same rights as hearing patients. Deaf people must have equal access when receiving medical care.
- Interpreters should be available for Deaf people 24/7. We understand that in an ideal world, this would be face to face, but sometimes, flexibility is needed. In such situations, SignHealth encourages Deaf people and healthcare services to use Sign Translate, an online BSL/English interpreting tool. Sign Translate is in the process of being rebranded as InterpreterNow which aims to offer Deaf people comprehensive 24/7 communication support.