Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Just a matter of fairness

Today, I got on a bus, and then there was a person in a wheelchair who also wanted to get on, but the bus driver said "the bus is full, unless you all wanna get off." However, people could have easily moved over to make space. It was definitely not "full." I assume the bus driver just didn't want to deal with it.
I'm a personal attendant for a disabled college student, and I've heard her tell me stories of people not picking up disabled passengers, but I had never seen it. I've only seen bus drivers be very helpful and respectful to disabled passengers, so I thought this was just F'd up. It was super HOT today, and I'm sure that man had been waiting for a while, and he just wanted to take the bus, but because he's in a wheelchair, he doesn't get to get on. He doesn't get the same treatment able-bodied people get.

This is similar to providers and limited English speaking patients. It's a huge hassle to find or pay for an interpreter or try to say what you need to say in way that the patient might understand. BUT, if providers don't provide them with intepreters, then they've denied them quality care of treatment that English speakers get. It's just a matter of fairness. Why doesn't that man get to go on the bus? Merely because it takes more time to lower a ramp and put on his seatbelt? Why doesn't a limited English patient get an interpreter just so that he/she can UNDERSTAND the MERE BASICS of what is going on. Patients' misunderstanding or misinterpreting of what a provider is saying can easily make the situation even worse.

Check out this article called "Growing immigrant population spurs demand for medical interpreters":

Update: If you want to know how to access interpreter services, go here: