Deaf Patient Sues Cleveland Clinic over Discrimination

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Charles Williams, an 84-year-old Cleveland Heights resident, filed a discrimination suit against the Cleveland Clinic Foundation for what he describes as an ongoing failure to provide American Sign Language interpreters during his visits to the hospital. Williams is completely deaf.

Read the full complaint below.

Williams describes a series of visits to the hospital — dating back to 2007 — during which he claims the Clinic either ignored his requests for an ASL interpreter or failed to ensure that one would be present. (On a few occasions, the Clinic would provide an interpreter who communicated in "signed English," which differs from ASL.)

As the suit states: "Vague or inaccurate interpreting creates a higher risk that patients will misunderstand their own diagnoses, prognoses, or proper courses of action. It also generates confusion, stress, and anxiety during already highly stressful and sensitive situations."

Clinic officials responded to Scene's request for comment on the matter: “We are committed to ensuring all patients can access our services and receive the highest quality care. We take these matters seriously and are currently reviewing the information."

Charles Williams v. the Cleveland Clinic Foundation

About The Author

Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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