Charlotte woman advocating for multiple interpreting systems in hospitals for deaf community

Charlotte woman advocating for multiple interpreting systems in hospitals for deaf community

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - According to the National Association of the Deaf, the widespread use of opaque masks had blocked some people’s ability to read lips, which is why other interpretation devices are needed.

Stacy Marx says she experienced different complications during the early part of her childhood. She said she and her family weren’t aware she was deaf until she was five years old.

According to languagenetworksusa.com, nearly 35 million adults ages 18 and older in the U.S. live with some form of hearing disabilities.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some facilities are turning to technology for interpretation whenever an in-person interpreter cannot be present. Marx recently ran into an issue with a video remote interpreting device when she went to the emergency room last week.

Marx says she was unable to request an in-person interpreter due to COVID-19 and says the video relay device used to interpret for her wasn’t fully charged - making her visit inaccessible.

“It’s on a screen basically and it’s better to have an interpreter in person that’s why I felt it wasn’t fair,” Marx said.

Under federal law, healthcare organizations have the responsibility of providing an interpreter for deaf or hard of hearing individuals.

She’s asking that hospitals considering having multiple devices, if they don’t already.

“I don’t want deaf people to have just one VRI,” she said.

More importantly, Marx says that no matter the disability, she wants people to have what they need and be treated like everyone else.

“I want all people to know that people who have certain things like disabilities or even full disabilities, they can live a normal life like everyone else,” she said.

Marx and her mother say they have already been in communication with the hospital and says they assured her they would be purchasing a second device.

For a list of Americans with Disabilities Act resources in North Carolina, click here.

The phone number for the North Carolina Office on Disability and Health is 919-707-5633.

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