Provided by: Jennifer Kirschenbaum, Esq.
July 30, 2019
In March 2019 a patient advocate for a facility in Puerto Rico contacted the Office for Civil Rights and reported a patient had relied on family to engage with healthcare professionals before making decisions leading to an amputation. Click here. OCR intervened during the patient's admission and the facility immediately provided a sign language interpreter. OCR applauded the facility for their responsiveness and patient support.
OCR Director Roger Severino offered this quote - "Our system of informed consent breaks down when medical facilities fail to communicate effectively with patients....Persons who are deaf or hard of hearing are entitled to qualified interpreters when making serious and life-altering decisions regarding their medical care."
Notably, OCR did not fine or punish the facility in any overt way. Like old times, OCR's intervention here was solely for the betterment of patient care; access to communication. That in itself, nowadays, is worthy of mention.
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