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Dr sued $400k for communicating via writing instead of sign language interpreter

Discussion in 'Pre-Medical - MD' started by mskk, Jan 7, 2009.

  1. mskk

    mskk ...
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    #1 mskk, Jan 7, 2009
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2009
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  3. angrypremed

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    Wow thats pretty damn stupid. If I was that doctor I would take it up to the supreme court!
     
  4. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    Wow.. thanks for making me really angry before bedtime. This person who sued the doctor should be thrown in a jail cell to rot for the rest of their life for being such a greedy POS. Why should the doctor have to pay for the interpreter? If you want to see the doctor, PAY FOR ONE YOURSELF.

    This type of disability suit garbage is nothing more than people cashing in on their disabilities and using them to get outrageously wealthy. This stuff happens in pharmacies, where one guy in a wheel chair can't get through the aisles so he sues the poor, hardworking bastard who runs an independent pharmacy for everything he's worth and wins because juries are stupid and there's plenty of scum lawyers willing to take their cases for free so they can cash in on a big settlement as well.

    America is such a dumb nation, look at stupid things we let slide in this country.
     
  5. Forthegood

    Forthegood ProcrastinationAficionado
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    Happens.... tis best to refer patients like this to someone else if at all possible... try to escape it before it bites you.

    And yeah, I'd like to add... what a crock of ****. Seriously, if a bosnian comes in, and i can't find a bosnian translator.... what then? how about a martian?
     
  6. Caesar

    Caesar In Memory of Riley Jane
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    You have to communicate via an official means with people with barriers I believe. Guess writing isn't one of them. weird.
     
  7. Pinkertinkle

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    Shoulda just folded.
     
  8. iduwanna

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    Thanks to Miss Gerena (and her jurors), I don't think I will ever see a blind or deaf patient. It's a shame. :(
     
  9. WannaBePreMed

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    Yeh, maybe taking it to the supreme court would be going a little too far... The verdict is ridiculous; how big of a difference would it be for someone to write than to use sign language. As long as the message comes across clearly it's fine regardless of the method of communication.


    This lady is a dou*he bag.
     
  10. scarletgirl777

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    American Disabilities Act says that we have to accommodate people with disabilities. Civil rights acts says that we have to provide foreign language services to interpret for people for whom English is not their first language. Never thought about how this would affect doctors running their own practices though...that is a HUGE expense. :scared:

    EDIT: As for the comment on Bosnian or some random language...there's a certain threshold percent, I believe, of a certain group of people that must be present in the surrounding area before it's required for you to have that language available...pretty sure that percent is pretty low. I don't know. I used to know this. Again, even though I knew hospitals had to do this, never thought about private one-man practices.

    And if she can read, writing/typing should DEFINITELY be enough of an accommodation!!!
     
  11. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    Oh so Gerena says that because the doctor makes a lot of money, he should pay out of his own pocket for her treatment???? what a JOKE. I hope this lady chokes on all the money she stole. She's no better than a thief and all those jurors out there in Jersey should be eternally ashamed of themselves.
     
  12. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    The ADA should be taken off the books. The Civil Rights Act does not say that have to provide foreign language services for people, the law simply makes provisions for those dealing with the government services, not private companies.

    This is all a bunch of garbage, and anyone with any sense of rationality can see that. Everyone thinks they are entitled to everything and I just pray that someday people will realize that life isn't fair, and you can't make other people miserable because of your own misfortune
     
  13. airplanes

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    sorry dude, but :thumbdown:thumbdown
    just because someone takes it overboard doesn't mean there is no merit to whatever law or statute protects that right.
     
  14. FutureInternist

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    The doctor should have just "fired" her from the office by providing her a month's notice & a list of doctors in the area (although I believe the latter is not required). He is under no legal or moral obligation to see each & every patient that comes to his door, certainly not one that gives him so much trouble.

    Also how is a written statement inferior to sign language? Aren't consents written?
     
  15. biogirl215

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    While I don't agree with the title lawsuit and wouldn't sue over something like this, it is REALLY frustrating not to fit places or be able to go into a building, cross a street, etc.

    WTF???! How the hell is it entitled to want to be able to go in buildings, take classes, etc.? And we're greedy? I have an 80% chance of unemployment, I can't get private health insurance, and I'm automatically disqualified from many jobs on the basis of my inability to walk... Yeah, it's a gold mine (and for the record, I have never received SSDI/SSI, etc., or sued anyone, though I have used IEPs/ADAs to get accommodations like a computer for classes [pre-college], extra time for written tests, etc.). You can't really believe that, can you?
     
  16. efitzpat

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    While I think this law suit is ridiculous, this is a horrible statement. American Sign Language is a language in itself - it has a distinct grammar and structure. It is not simply a bunch of hand gestures. Writing should not be a substitute, just like yelling and gesticulating at a hearing person who speaks a different langauge is not a substitute for an interpreter.

    I went to a deaf magnet school and had deaf friends and teachers. Just because the language isn't spoken, doesn't mean its not a language in itself and that they don't deserve the same rights as someone that speaks Spanish.
     
  17. chessknt87

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    This is easy to retaliate against--dont take medicare patients (they are probably more likely to aim for the $$) and dont take disabled/foreign patients. If enough doctors do this maybe people will wake up and stop suing us so much if there are real consequences that cause them to have real inconveniences. Yea it sucks for the many innocent people looking for healthcare, but doctors are facing a full scale war agains their autonomy and quality of life.
     
  18. chessknt87

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    If she can read, writing should suffice given that neither of them could afford an interpreter.
     
  19. Retsage

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    What a series of ridiculous statements.

    Those who speak ASL it in the USA can also generally read the English language. Yelling and gesticulating at someone who speaks a different language is in no way analogous - said person speaking the different language will have absolutely no idea what you are trying to say. Unless the deaf woman is illiterate, she'll understand just fine.

    At the core, the issue is understanding. I just had laryngitis for the last six days, which meant I communicated by typing and writing notes. Guess what, people could still understand me just fine, because they were literate, and all of the English language can be transferred into paper with perfect precision and clarity.
     
  20. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    Interesting. While the patient was awarded way too much, the doctor in this case wasn't that bright either:
    When you have a patient asking for something and you ignore it, then you're either immoral or an entitled doctor. After the first request he should have either gotten an auxiliary device or transferred the patient. I am willing to bet that the reason this doctor was sued was because he did not treat his patient well - just like most of his patients. Studies have shown that patients sue doctors not because of "malpractice," but because of the "feeling" of harm - e.g., being ignored, patronized, etc. I don't know when will doctors get off their high chair. If you want to have a feel about what I am talking about, take a look at this ridiculous thread: Quacks. Guys, as long as you think that all your patients are worthless loaders and treat them as such, all doctors are going to suffer. That's because the jury, the judge, the prosecutor are patients too! Think about that if any of you sometime in the future decide to call anyone a quack or mistreat them somehow in any way, especially if you lack solid evidence. Somehow I am not too sure that this case will be overturned. Doctors have really dug themselves into a deep resentment hole.
     
  21. Retsage

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    You always manage to one-up yourself in proselytizing, obnoxious posts. Congratulations.
     
  22. scarletgirl777

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    The Civil Rights Act includes not discriminating against people based on "national origin" and thus has been determined to apply to foreign languages. Being out of compliance is a violation of federal law. I would find the links, but Google will prove my point if you're really interested...
     
  23. chessknt87

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    At the same time, it may be an honest mistake because she isnt his only god damn patient. He might have to deal with 100 people a day, and just because one has special needs and is evoking some sort of inconvenient law because she is too ****ing lazy to read doesnt mean the doctor is bad at his job or treats his patients poorly. Similarly judgements should not be made about how the jury feels, but rather what the law says about the matter. And I find it hard ot believe that written English, a language and media form the patient understands and comprehends perfectly, was not clear enough to convey the information she wanted.
     
  24. halekulani

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    i don't get how writing is equivalent to yelling.......

    if a deaf person tried to communicate with someone who doesn't use sign language, wouldn't it be common sense to write?
     
  25. pianola

    pianola MS2
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    The article never mentioned whether or not the patient felt she was able to ask questions without an interpreter. It sounds like she may have had several things wrong with her, and perhaps she was unable to communicate except with an interpreter.

    Speculating.

    You wouldn't want to go to a doctor, either, if you couldn't ask questions.

    Just a thought.
     
  26. efitzpat

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    The core is not understanding. While people who use ASL can read English, the point is not making ASL a second class language because a common medium (written language) exists. The deaf community deserves interpreters just as much as any other non-English speaking group. Interpreters are not just language translaters, they are also cultural brokers (to steal from Spirit Catches You) and there are sensitive topics that exist in the deaf community that should be dealt with by someone who understands. I'm not saying this was the case here, or that this case is even valid (I definitely think lawsuits like this are ridiculous and I hope I don't have to deal with this crap as a doctor), but I am saying that this is a common and legitimate issue faced in the deaf community.

    Oh and I won't need a statement like this following my post. I understand that you think everyone else's opinions are invalid and erroneous compared to yours.
     
  27. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    yep I do.

    I have a whole side of my family who is disabled (3 paraplegics) , and none of them would ever sue somebody because they couldn't fit into a store. They'd go somewhere else. Yeah it sucks, but you don't get to become rich just because you have a disability.
     
  28. efitzpat

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    Or it would be common sense to get an interpreter.
     
  29. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    I don't get the whole foreign language thing. If I immigrate to China, not being able to speak a word of Chinese, can I start demanding that everyone accommodate me by providing English translators? When you come to a country, you ASSIMILATE by learning the language. We are the only country dumb enough to try and make every single individual comfortable.
     
  30. airplanes

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    You're right. It's such an open political environment in China, and everyone just seems so happy because of all the rights they lack...We are totally missing out...

    and minorities have it soo easy in this country, its quite unbelievable
     
  31. Retsage

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    So this has nothing to do with understanding as you first claimed, and everything to do with not treating the deaf as second-class citizens? Not hurting their feelings, in other words.
     
  32. Excelsius

    Excelsius Carpe Noctem
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    I am not really justifying the patient. As I said, 400K is a ridiculous amount. However, given the signs, the doctor should have taken the appropriate action. She had a interpreter call the doctor and inform him about the law. I don't think it could get any more serious than that.

    You bring the example of the 100s of other patients by the same doctor. The counterargument to that would be the other doctors that this patient had before and after this doctor - she didn't sue any of them. I highly doubt that many (if any) of those other doctors provided her with an interpreter. They just treated her very nicely and she felt secure enough to not sue.
     
  33. scarletgirl777

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    This is all very valid. I fully understand that ASL is not a version of English, it's another language entirely, and I understand that there is a Deaf culture that hearing people cannot understand or do not even know it exists. I'm not saying that this is what you think, but an interpreter is not there to be some sort of...cultural peacemaker. An interpreter should be like...a machine that simply translates. So it's not important that that interpreter build rapport with the patient. The doctor should always be the one buildin rapport with the patient and the interpreter is simply a tool.

    I understand that writing can take a while, but if the patient brought her questions in advance, typed up her own notes during the appointment etc, then I think that's a pretty good accommodation. After all, having an interpreter is not perfect. That adds time to. The doctor needs to speak, then the interpreter needs to speak/sign, then the patient needs to sign, then the interpreter needs to speak again. Done the RIGHT way, interpreting takes a long time because there is no paraphrasing.
     
  34. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    So how about any other country in the world? I could have used any non-English speaking country and my point would've been just as valid.
     
  35. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    :laugh:

    where did I imply that?

    I should note that I am the Vice President of our local chapter of the NAACP. I'm the last person who thinks minorities have it "easy."

    Your sarcasm didn't invalidate my point at all, in fact it had nothing to do with anything I said. In essence, you failed. Nice try :thumbup:
     
  36. airplanes

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    But you didn't. There is nothing wrong with the ADA. Just because sometimes people use litigation to abuse the first amendment doesn't mean we should throw that out as well.
     
  37. vadd0

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    Why is this worth 400,000? I understand compliance and accommodations, but 400,000 dollars is probably worth more than what the patient could earn for the entirety of her life, and her existence was not even affected from the physician's decision.
     
  38. airplanes

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    You are demanding assimilation. When people assimilate to the dominant paradigm, they lose their own culture, their uniqueness, their own identity. You say we are the only country dumb enough to make every single individual comfortable...that is not the case at all. We have a freaking long way to go man. Whether you are disables, a racial minority or a sexual minority...you are facing an uphill battle.

    :laugh: LOL tell your NAACP friends how you feel about assimilation.
     
  39. Retsage

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    Assimilation is a good thing. It's what turns a nation into a nation. The notion that assimilation entails the majority destroying the minority's culture is incorrect. The minority integrates its culture into that of the majority, and everyone is enriched in the process - it's why pizza, whiskey, and sushi are so ubiquitous today, instead of being relegated to small subsets of society.
     
  40. biogirl215

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    Neither would I! Most people don't use the ADA to sue/"get rich" but rather to have form of mandate of some degree of accommodation--otherwise, NO ONE would do anything in regards to accessibility.

    (Personally, I think the ADA is a horribly designed and written law, but that's a whole other ball of wax...)
     
  41. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    But I didn't? So what? There was a point to my analogy. So because I didn't use another example in my analogy, that makes the point behind it completely invalid?

    This is what happens when you have a law that is so broad as the ADA. People take advantage of it. If you don't have a law, you don't have people taking advantage of it and ruining other peoples lives. There is no law, hence no misuse of it.

    The First Amendment is not nearly as broad as the ADA is. Further, the 1st Amendment protects /rights/. A right is something that you are entitled to but does not place any obligations onto other people. The ADA is well meaning but unfortunately opens the door to this kind of ridiculousness.

    If people had common sense, this would never have to go down like this. There is a difference between someone having their individual rights violated (and by rights, I mean literal rights - I mean life, liberty, and safety) and someone not being provided an expensive service to make them more comfortable. If they want the service, they can pay for it themselves.
     
  42. airplanes

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    That would be a melting pot, not assimilation: when an individual or individuals adopts some or all aspects of a dominant culture (such as its religion, language, norms, values etc.). Adopting a culture and fitting in doesn't really enrich everyone else does it?
     
  43. ejay286

    ejay286 Member
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    I agree wholeheartedly, intolerance still runs rampant though so assimilation is often times a very uphill battle..
     
  44. airplanes

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    My original reply came because you specifically used China as an example, so I wasn't really attacking whatever other valid point you were trying to make. And there are those who believe health care is in fact a right.
     
  45. Retsage

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    A melting pot is assimilation. We're not talking hive-mind, Borg-assimilation here, but the normal assimilation of a culture into a more dominant culture. The dominant one will form the foundation and the backbone, but the second culture will maintain many of its important aspects and integrate itself wonderfully. And, as I don't feel like getting further entangled in a game of semantics, let's get back to the original point - a melting pot cannot exist if people don't speak the same language and are unable to communicate with each other.
     
  46. airplanes

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    Unfortunately, I perceived him to mean the "hive-minded Borg etc etc" type. Very true, its hard without everyone being on the same page...but you really cannot expect to grant equal rights only to those who speak good English. Even citizenship tests accomodate different languages.
     
  47. scarletgirl777

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    People hold the melting pot up as an example, but if everything melts together then what do we have--indiscriminate mush! I don't want everyone to be the same. I want a heterogenous mixture :) Not oil and water, but something interesting with different textures.

    Everyone in America should try to learn English, enough to function in society and get ahead in life, but there IS intrinsic value in other languages, and we should strive to preserve them. We should also do the best we can to accommodate people as they get on that path to learn English. It's only courteous.
     
  48. Retsage

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  49. zenlike

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    The suit makes total sense if the woman is illiterate or only marginally literate.

    If she was literate, it's B.S. I find it interesting that people are supporting the opinion that writing is an ineffective means of communication on a message board filled with people who are intimately familiar with the nuances of the written word.
     
  50. cbrons

    cbrons Ratatoskr! *Roar*
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    Your point actually makes no sense whatsoever. By immigrating to a foreign nation, you are losing a little bit of your culture already in favor of becoming part of the one you are moving into. And by the way, assimilating doesn't destroy your own uniqueness and culture... that's ridiculous. You can look at Retsage's post for a full and complete rebuttal to your obviously ridiculous statement.

    What does that have to do with assimilation? When did I ever say that being a racial minority, being gay or transgendered, or being deaf/blind/disabled wasn't hard? What does that have to do with anything?

    So because I disagree with a law that basically opens the door to widespread fraud, I'm a racist/homophobe/insensitive towards people with disabilities? I think that is pretty ignorant of you to suggest and actually just an unfair (and dishonest) tactic to try and marginalize someone with an opposing opinion. It's like saying that just because someone doesn't agree with affirmative action, that they are racists... come on now.

    Funny you should say that. I just hired a new treasurer from France who didn't speak a word of English until about 2 months ago. The first thing he did when he got here was hire a language tutor so he could learn the language. Don't worry - he still drinks wine and eats brie and says he didn't lose any of his culture in the assimilation process (he happens to live next door to me, so I went over and showed him the thread and asked him myself)... so I guess theres not much more to say other than you might want to employ some more critical thinking into your arguement and less emotional reactivity. But thanks for the good arguement, it was highly stimulating.

    (image removed)
     
    #49 cbrons, Jan 7, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2009
  51. airplanes

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    ...man where to start. I guess could spend the next 20 minutes trying to write something up but that would be a waste of time because I know none of it will sink in and you will dismiss it. Maybe throw in another epic fail pic...Cool. Thanks for reading. Agree to Disagree. High Five.
     

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