Mullen et al v. Portercare Adventist Healthcare System et al, 14-cv-00203-CMA-BNB
CCDC filed a lawsuit on behalf of a deaf individual and her significant other against Porter Adventist Hospital and Brookside Inn alleging a denial of appropriate auxiliary aids and services, specifically, a denial of qualified sign language interpreters. Plaintiff Mullen was provided qualified sign language interpreters prior to having surgery at Porter Adventist Hospital. However, almost immediately after the surgery, Ms. Mullen was informed that Porter would no longer be providing her with interpreters, and that instead, she would have to communicate through written communication. Porter also informed Ms. Mullen that a refusal to communicate in writing would result in documentation of her refusal with an implication of punitive consequences. Because of this denial of interpreters, Plaintiff Johnson, Ms. Mullen’s life partner, often had to try to interpret for Ms. Mullen. Ms. Johnson knows American Sign Language but is not a qualified sign language interpreter and is not familiar with the complicated medical information she often had to try to convey to Ms. Mullen. Porter did not provide qualified sign language interpreters for the remainder of Ms. Mullen’s stay.
Porter informed Ms. Mullen and Ms. Johnson, without an interpreter, that Ms. Mullen would need physical therapy. Porter recommended that Ms. Mullen receive physical therapy at Brookside Inn. Porter also informed Ms. Mullen that Brookside would not provide Ms. Mullen with qualified sign language interpreters. Ms. Mullen and Ms. Johnson attempted to communicate their desire not to go to Brookside. Despite their attempts to protest, a Brookside employee picked up and transported Ms. Mullen from Porter to Brookside, where she stayed for two days without being provided a qualified interpreter.
Lawsuit filed on January 24, 2014.
Settlements reached with Porter Hospital on May 5, 2014, and with Brookside Inn on April 29, 2014. Porter Hospital and CCDC will work together to develop procedures for providing care to deaf and hard of hearing individuals. Brookside Inn must provide appropriate auxiliary aids and services to individuals who are deaf and their companions.