American Sign Language:
In a message dated 8/23/2009 1:56:51 A.M. Pacific Daylight Time,
<<Dear Dr. Vicars,
I am a severely hard of hearing individual (who is oral - but used
ASL in college) who agrees that for many deaf individual the "Deaf
community" is wonderful, and that being Deaf in THAT community is
not a disability.
I also believe that in the outside “Hearing world,” there are
exceptions where deafness is a disability, which is why the ADA
covers deafness as such.
I have Meniere's Disease, which makes my hearing fluctuate from a
60dB loss to profound deafness. The Meniere's attacks like to pop up
a lot more when other things like asthma or numerous severe allergic
reactions pop up. Since I have severe vertigo with the Meniere's
attacks, trying to watch someone's hands moving is now impossible
for me during these attacks.
In an emergency situation (like an ambulance or an emergency room),
where non-deaf personnel are the norm, getting someone to go and get
a piece of clean paper and print clearly on it, seems to be an
impossible task, at least in Denver and it's suburbs.
Getting people to read a facesheet in 16 pt print or a doctors
statement I carry that in such situations I am deaf is also an
EXTREMELY rare occurrence. Just this year, I've been given two
potentially fatal overdoses because people refused to read the sheet
I started out pleasantly asking them -- and ended up yelling at them
-- to read the list of medications I was on. How is this NOT a
In trying to get away from the nurse giving one of these overdoses,
I did hit an EMT (who had first wrenched and sprained my hand). I am
the one facing assault charges. I went to the BRAND NEW courthouse
for the arraignment, told everyone and their brother that I am hard
of hearing and would like an FM system and a court appointed
attorney -- and end up not being given either one. Again, without
the ADA, I would have no recourse against this railroading.
I now have a criminal attorney (who thankfully is taking the case to
a jury trial after reading the medical records for the same cost as
he charges for showing up to an arraignment), a medical malpractice
attorney, and a disability rights attorney.
I would recommend that any deaf or HOH person carry a sheet FROM
THEIR DOCTOR or a medical alert jewelry identifying that they are
HOH or deaf. Within the last couple of years, there have also been a
couple of widely locally published stories about innocent deaf
individuals either being arrested and jailed for several days or
shot for "resisting arrest" because they did not stop when police
yelled for them to. BTW, for those naysayers who think Denver is
still a cowtown and that I was in some hick hospital, one of those
hospitals was Exempla St. Joseph's hospital which is is on US News
and World Report top 100 Hospitals in the Nation for orthopedics and
Heart programs and in the top 100 for the cardiac and ICU programs
with Solucient, a healthcare based information products company. The
other hospital was it's sister hospital, Exempla Good Samaritan. You
can choose to publish the hospital names, or not.
Thanks for letting me vent <G>
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