The partner of a profoundly deaf man is taking legal action against Ramsay Health Care Ltd, the owners and operators of Westmead Private Hospital, after the hospital refused to provide an Auslan interpreter to allow her husband to participate in antenatal classes and liaise with medical staff during the birth of their first child.
The couple, Kate and Anthony Hinton, eventually had their child at Westmead Public Hospital, where an interpreter was provided free of charge for the duration of the birth and in the immediate antenatal period.
The Public Interest Advocacy Centre (PIAC) is acting for Kate Hinton in this matter.
‘The birth of a child is one of the most significant events in anyone’s life, and people who are deaf should be afforded the same opportunities as everyone else to support their partner during this process,’ said PIAC CEO Edward Santow.
‘Partners and support people also play a vital role in communicating medical information in emergency situations, so this is a matter of patient safety.
‘Ramsay Heath Care Ltd operates 69 hospitals across Australia. We call on the company to make an accredited Auslan interpreter available at all its hospitals whenever this is needed by a deaf or hearing-impaired patient or support person throughout the antenatal and childbirth process.
‘These services are already freely available in public hospitals and it is high time people who communicate using Auslan were guaranteed the same service in the private system,’ said Edward Santow.
MEDIA CONTACT: PIAC Media and Communications Officer, Gemma Pearce: 0478 739 280.