Thibault has had a series of surgeries after being injured at work. He asks the hospital to book Auslan interpreters for him for follow-up appointments. The hospital does this using a patient filing system that alerted staff that Thibault was a patient who required Auslan interpreters. The hospital books the interpreter to stay to the end of his appointment so they are not in a hurry to leave for other bookings. When Thibault has long appointments, the hospital books multiple interpreters because Auslan interpreters must work in pairs for longer appointments due to occupational health and safety requirements. Thibault is very pleased with the provision of Auslan interpreters when he visits hospital.

 

Seven-year-old Kylie goes to hospital to have an operation on her legs. Kylie’s father, Stephan is Deaf and his first language is Auslan. Stephan is accompanied by his partner, Ganelle. Kylie’s mother is not present.

After the operation, Stephan asks the surgeon how the operation went. In response to Stephan’s question, the surgeon raises his hand to Stephan’s face and says, “I’m not going to talk to you, you’re Deaf. I will talk to your girlfriend instead.”

 

A hospital recently revised its policy on the provision of Auslan interpreters. The hospital set out clear policies and procedures to keep track of all attempts to book an Auslan interpreter. Staff members are now responsible for recording on the patient file the time, date and content of each booking to improve communication flow and accountability. The hospital also offers a responsive complaints system for patients. Since implementing the new policy and procedures, Auslan interpreters have been provided much more consistently and patients who are deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind are more satisfied with the services that they receive at the hospital.

 

Lilla presents at the hospital emergency department with a broken arm. Lilla is Deaf. She tells the triage nurses at the reception desk that she needs an Auslan interpreter when she sees the doctor. She provides all of her personal information to the triage nurses with a pen and paper.

Lilla sits in the waiting room waiting for a doctor. She waits for five hours because the reception staff call her name over the PA system and Lilla, being Deaf, does not hear her name being called.

 

Maria is pregnant with her first child and is also Deaf. She goes to hospital to receive an ultrasound test to monitor the growth of her baby. The hospital provides her with an Auslan interpreter at her request.

During the ultrasound, the doctor picks up the baby’s heartbeat. The doctor moves the sound box next to the head of the bed and put the volume to the highest level. The doctor tells Maria, through the Auslan interpreter, to place her hand on the voice monitor. Maria is very excited to be able to feel her baby’s heart through the vibrations of the monitor.

 

Ziad is 12 years old. His mother, Samar, takes Ziad to the hospital emergency department because he has food stuck in his braces which is causing him a lot of pain.

Samar is Deaf and requests an Auslan interpreter when she arrives at the hospital, however an interpreter is not provided. Ziad sees a doctor at the emergency department and is given medication in the course of his treatment. The doctors do not inform Samar what medication that they have given Ziad nor the potential side effects. The hospital does not provide the medical advice in writing nor does it offer an immediate follow up appointment with an Auslan interpreter.

 

Abeba has recently migrated to Australia from Ethiopia and is pregnant with her first child. Abeba, who is deaf, has arranged to give birth in hospital with her aunt as her support person.

Originally, the hospital considered making arrangements for two Auslan interpreters to be present when Abeba goes into labour to give each Auslan interpreter adequate rest breaks during their shifts. However, hospital staff realised that Abeba is not familiar with Auslan, having lived in Ethiopia most of her life. The hospital then arranges a deaf interpreter. Deaf interpreters are specifically trained sign language interpreters who are able to convey meaning in the form of a highly visual form of gesture in a way that is suitable for patients who are deaf or hard of hearing who are not fluent in Auslan.

As the expected date of Abeba’s labour draws closer, the hospital is in regular contact with the interpreting agency to ensure that the deaf interpreters are on standby for Abeba’s labour. Abeba’s baby is born with all of the assistance required.

 

Amy goes to the hospital for a follow up appointment after emergency surgery that she had a week ago. Matthew, an Auslan interpreter, attends this appointment. Matthew asks Amy what the appointment is about. Amy responds that she is not sure. She had emergency surgery a week ago after going to the hospital emergency department. The hospital did not provide any interpreter during her stay in hospital a week ago. Following emergency surgery but before being discharged from hospital, she was not provided with an Auslan interpreter. Amy still does not know what surgery she had a week ago or why it was done.