On November 13, 2016, the deaf wife of a patient who was treated for cancer in a Maryland hospital filed a lawsuit against the hospital for its failure to provide her with a qualified sign language interpreter during her husband’s hospital treatments. The patient, who had no hearing impairment, was forced to interpret for his wife regarding his treatment during his hospital care.
The husband, who died from cancer, became so weak due to his deteriorating medical condition that he subsequently became unable to interpret for his wife regarding his worsening prognossis and his ongoing medical care and treatment. Still, the defendant Maryland hospital failed to provide the wife with a qualified sign language interpreter, according to the federal lawsuit she filed on her behalf and on behalf of her son.
The plaintiff alleges in her Maryland hospital lawsuit that her husband was admitted to the defendant hospital on 23 occasions between January 24, 2014 and December 11, 2014, during which the plaintiff alleges that she requested a qualified sign language interpreter each such time so that she could fully understand her husband’s medical care and his prognosis but instead she had to rely on her ailing husband to inform her of what was happening to him.
The plaintiff alleges in her lawsuit that her husband’s condition deteriorated throughout 2014 but she was left in the dark as to his worsening condition because she had to rely on her husband’s ability to interpret for her, which also deteriorated as her husband’s condition deteriorated. Once he became too weak to interpret clearly for his wife, he stopped interpreting for her.
The plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges that the first time that the defendant Maryland hospital provided her with a qualified sign language interpreter was on December 11, 2014, at which time she found out for the first time that her husband had only six months to live. During her husband’s hospital stay in February 2015, the defendant hospital once again failed to provide her with a qualified sign language interpreter and she had to rely on her son to interpret what the hospital staff was telling them.
The plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges that the defendant hospital violated the provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act, the Rehabilitation Act, and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The lawsuit seeks unspecified compensatory damages and also seeks an order from the Maryland federal court enjoining the defendant from implementing or enforcing policies that discriminate against deaf or hard of hearing people.
The lawsuit is captioned Patricia Ganzzermiller et al. v. University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center et al., 1:16-cv-03696-JFM.
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