Avoid Medical Malpractice by Using American Sign Language Interpreters

As cliche as it gets, try to imagine and truly put yourself in the shoes of someone who does not understand spoken English.

You have not been feeling well and you are concerned about your own well-being. You walk into a medical office to discuss your health concerns. Nobody is able to understand you and the same another way around, you are not able to understand anyone in the office. 

Would you be confident enough to try to explain your symptoms and instill trust in them to be able to diagnose you properly? If you have something as mild as a cold, lucky you. What if you had a complicated medical condition or concern, such as the discovery of a lump in a bodily part or something else that requires a significant amount of explanation and discussion regarding the symptoms, how long you have been experiencing the symptoms, when they started, and other vital information needed before the doctor can accurately diagnose and treat you?

Of course, it is easy to assume it is not that complicated when you are not experiencing it. It is often that we think our experiences are mutually shared by the vast majority of people, but we have to remind ourselves that no experiences are identical and that experiences are formulated by countless variables.

According to this US medical malpractice study, almost 2,000 deaths have been linked to communication failures between 2011 and 2016, which cost $1.7 billion in medical malpractice costs! 

Another notable statistic is that 30% of medical malpractice cases occurred primarily from communication failures, found by CRISO strategies.

The two statistics above prove the essence of utilizing American Sign Language interpreters. As a Deaf person, I can confidently confirm that American Sign Language interpreters are of paramount importance. They play a crucial role in numerous aspects of our lives, especially in the medical facet. Without American Sign Language interpreters, it is frightening to think how many MORE Deaf people would get misdiagnosed or mistreated simply due to communication barriers, which could easily be dissolved with minimal effort from the medical office and as mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) laws.

Had every medical office and provider been educated on the importance and legal requirements of providing American Sign Language interpreters, we would likely see much fewer cases of medical malpractice that resulted from communication failures. It is easily a win-win situation for every party involved:

-Deaf patient receives full access to communication through the usage of an American Sign Language interpreter.

-Medical provider also receives full access to communication by hiring a Sign Language interpreter.

-Medical provider is no longer at risk of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) laws.

-Medical provider also avoids the risk of getting sued for malpractice.

-Deaf patient is able to go home and sleep peacefully knowing that the treatment was proper due to effective communication and that the medical provider understood.If you are a medical provider and currently do not utilize Sign Language interpreters, you should definitely start looking for a provider. FIA Interpreting is a top nation-wide provider for all the interpretation and translation needs, including On-Site Interpreting, Video Remote Interpreting, Virtual Interpreting, and Document Translation. Reach out to us by calling us at 240-409-7972 or emailing us at schedule@frederickinterpreting.com and have solutions completely tailored to your organizational needs and objectives.