TWIN FALLS, Idaho (KMVT/KSVT) — Researchers at Idaho State University found deaf patients often face discrimination in access to health care.
The study, which was published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found deaf patients were significantly less likely to be accepted as a new patient because of their need for an interpreter. Some members of the deaf and hard of hearing community do not believe the responsibility of having an interpreter should rest solely on the patient.
“I think that it’s very upsetting that they don’t already have a sign language interpreter,” said Kimberly Erskine, web content coordinator for Penn Medicine. “This is something that medical facilities should already have on-hand for communication accessibility for the deaf patients. I don’t think that’s fair for deaf patients to have to wait for something that should already be available to them.”
Erskine said the COVID-19 pandemic has added difficulties to communication for the deaf community because of the added hurdle of wearing masks or even the mental fatigue that comes with video calls being a more used method of communication. She encourages people to be patient and show empathy toward others.
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