On-site interpreters can be costly and hard to arrange, so hospitals have sought out alternatives, including video conferencing with remote interpreters, who can be helping a patient in Ohio one minute and in Oregon the next.
Many deaf patients have taken to social media to complain about the use of video interpreting services in emergency rooms.
The agency contacted her 14 months later, saying that it would offer advice to the hospital but would not conduct an investigation.
Lowell General did not comment despite repeated phone calls and emails.
However, she said that Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital in Sayre, Pa., told her that she could only request an interpreter once she was there.
When Wheeler arrived, she was told that the hospital was still searching for an available interpreter, and she was offered video interpreting instead.
Her nurse didn’t know how to set it up, so Wheeler had to do it herself, she said.
“Of course, the VRI froze,” she said, referring to the equipment.
Eventually, the doctor wrote a note saying that her husband would have to be transferred to a Boston hospital. wondering if he will make it,” wrote Quintal in a Facebook message, adding that at one point, she wasn’t sure if he was still alive.
A few months later, she filed a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights at the US Department of Health and Human Services.