Video remote interpreting is an important part of the services provided by interpreting companies. For many people who are deaf or hard of hearing, remote interpreting is a vital service. Often, places like hospitals don’t have access to an on-site ASL interpreter. In these situations, access to video remote interpreting is crucial so that the user can understand the information being provided to them. Remote interpreting services can be useful for others as well, not just for those individuals with hearing disabilities. Unfortunately, there can be many problems associated with this service. The following are two egregious cases surrounding the use of video remote interpreting. Hopefully, by studying these examples future tragedies can be averted.
Video Remote Interpreting And Silva v Baptist Health S. Fla. Inc.
Cheylla Silva and John Paul Jebian were two plaintiffs in a case against a healthcare organization, Baptist Health South Florida Inc. The plaintiffs, who are deaf, visited two hospitals run by this organization. They needed an ASL interpreter to provide medical interpreting services for them. Video remote interpreting in hospitals for these types of situations is standard, in addition to in-person interpreters or phone interpreter services. The plaintiffs however claimed that they were not provided with an in-person interpreter and the video remote interpreting services that was provided did not work well and caused them to miss vital medical information. The 11th circuit federal appeals court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs arguing that Baptist Health could have done more to provide adequate communications.
The Case of Tomei v Parkwest Medical Center
The case of Scott Tomei is similar to the one above. Tomei went to the emergency room at Parkwest Medical Center complaining that he was experiencing pain in his right leg. Tomei, who is also deaf, claims his request for an ASL interpreter was refused; he was given a video remote interpreting device instead. Tomei was unable to fully communicate with doctors, so he was sent home. A few days later, he was rushed to the University of Tennessee Medical Center, where part of his right leg had to be amputated due to complications that were not previously dealt with. Had Tomei been provided a specialist in medical interpreting, he would have been able to effectively communicate with the doctors and avoid this tragic outcome. At the very least, Parkwest Medical Center’s video remote interpreting services should have been working as intended.
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