A deaf patient said she was unaware she agreed to have seven teeth removed after a Washington dental clinic failed to provide an interpreter. The case is now being heard in federal court.
The woman contacted Dental Specialty Clinic in Des Moines, Washington, for emergency treatment in June 2020 after her dentist said she likely needed to have “her wisdom teeth removed and possibly one other tooth, as well as a possible root canal,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Washington said.
Although the woman was told there would likely be no sign language interpreter available, the clinic said it would contact her beforehand if that were the case. “However, the clinic did not contact her, and when she arrived for treatment, there was no interpreter,” prosecutors said.
Without an interpreter there to help explain the treatment plan, the woman unknowingly agreed to have seven teeth removed, which “caused her significant physical pain and emotional distress,” prosecutors said.
“Effective communication with patients is critical in medical and dental appointments, and auxiliary aids and services are required by law for patients who need them,” U.S. Attorney Nick Brown said.
As part of a settlement, Brown said the clinic will pay the woman “$45,000 in compensation for the discrimination she suffered.” The clinic must also make improvements to ensure it provides “interpreter services for clients who are deaf.”
Brown said the dental clinic was ordered to contract out a “qualified interpreter services provider” and train its employees on new policies and procedures. “The clinic will provide reports and records to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for three years to ensure compliance.”
Read Full Article from Miami Herald (10/19/22)
Author: Segura, Daniella
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