Deaf man sues hospital due to lack of translator

Michelle Keahey, East Texas Bureau Jul. 29, 2013, 10:42am

TYLER- A deaf man has filed a lawsuit against a Tyler medical center for failing to provide an interpreter so that he could be informed about the medical status of his wife.

Robert Phelps filed suit against East Texas Medical Center Regional Healthcare System on July 25 in the Eastern District of Texas, Tyler Division. 

According to the lawsuit, in Aug. 2012, Phelps requested interpreters for one night in order to be informed of the medical status of his wife. The Lindale Police Department also made the hospital aware that Phelps would require an interpreter, but the requests were ignored, the suit states.

Phelps alleges that the hospital even refused to attempt written communication with him, according to the suit.

The defendant is accused of violating the Americans with Disabilities Act and for violating the Rehabilitation Act.

The plaintiff is asking for an injunction to require the defendant to develop policies, practices, and procedures for providing interpreter services for deaf patients and companions, enjoin the defendant from violating the ADA and Rehabilitation Act, and an award of damages, attorney’s fees and court costs.

Phelps is represented by Joseph P. Berra, Wayne Krause Yang and James C. Harrington of Texas Civil Rights Project in Austin.

U.S. District Judge Michael H. Schneider is assigned to the case.

Case No. 6:13-cv-00556

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