Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Local Medical Practice Discriminates Against More Deaf Patients
After Lawsuit Filed, More Patients Complain

- Today the Center for Rights of Parents with Disabilities at theColorado Cross-Disability Coalition ("CRPD"), filed an amended lawsuit inthe federal district court of Colorado against a Lakewood medical practiceon behalf of CRPD and several members. The suit alleges Cohen & Womack,M.D., P.C., doing business as Red Rocks OB-GYN, refuses to provide signlanguage interpreters for deaf patients.Annette Guerrero is a Red Rock OB-GYN patient who is deaf. Ms. Guerrero and her husband, who is also deaf, went through her entire pregnancy without knowing simple facts about the progress of her pregnancy. She never knew her weight or the size of her baby. When she was diagnosed with gestational diabetes, the doctors and sta ff were unable to explain how she was to manage her condition."After we filed the first complaint, Dr. Cohen was reported to claim thelawsuit was based upon a miscommunication," said Carrie Ann Lucas, thedirector of the CRPD and lead counsel in the case. "It's certainly amiscommunication - an intentional miscommunication caused when Red Rocks OB-GYN refused to provide sign language interpreters for its patients. ""It's shocking that Red Rocks OB-GYN provides Spanish interpreters to ensureSpanish speaking clients have effective communication, but that they don'tdo the same for Deaf patients," said Jennifer Pfau, one of the plaintiffs inthe case. "It's not simply shocking, it's shameful," she said.The ADA requires health care providers to ensure effective communicationwith patients through the provision of interpreters, assistive technology,and other auxiliary aids and servicesThe plaintiffs ask the Court to order the medical practice to provide signlanguage interpreters to deaf patients to ensure that they understandmedical communications. The complaint also requests damages for theplaintiffs. The CRPD combats discrimination that affects parents with disabilities.The Colorado Cross-Disability Coalition is Colorado's largest state-widecross-disability organization and has several thousand members acrossColorado.A copy of the amended complaint can be found athttp://ccdconline.org/legal /cohen_womack