Thank you 11th Circuit -- I'd like to live in a world where a deaf person does not have to meet this high burden to prove they got screwed in terms of competent communication services at Baptist:
We reverse the district court on these issues. Not only do we conclude that Plaintiffs have standing to seek injunctive relief, we also reject the district court’s substantive standard for liability. For an effective-communication claim brought under the ADA and RA, we do not require a plaintiff to show actual deficient treatment or to recount exactly what the plaintiff did not understand. Nor is it a sufficient defense for a defendant merely to show that a plaintiff could participate in the most basic elements of a doctor-patient exchange. Rather, the relevant inquiry is whether the hospitals’ failure to offer an appropriate auxiliary aid impaired the patient’s ability to exchange medically relevant information with hospital staffI also really like how the Court unpacked the types of technical arguments you see sophisticated corporate defendants make, the sort that makes perfect sense when reading in an air-conditioned, abstract fancy law office:
The district court relied on medical records indicating that hospital staff were able to ascertain Plaintiffs’ primary symptoms, and that Plaintiffs verbalized understanding of treatment and discharge instructions. We reject this standard for two reasons. First, limiting the required level of communication to that necessary to convey the primary symptoms, a treatment plan, and discharge instructions may still result in deaf patients receiving an unequal opportunity to participate in healthcare services in comparison to non-disabled patients. When a hearing (i.e., non-disabled) person goes to the hospital, that person is not limited only to describing symptoms and receiving the treatment plan and discharge instructions. The patient’s conversation with the doctor could, and sometimes should, include a whole host of other topics, such as any prior medical conditions and history, medications the patient is taking, lifestyle and dietary habits, differential diagnoses, possible follow-up procedures and tests, informed-consent issues, and side effects and costs of potential courses of treatment.Right, it's not just "did you communicate where the gunshot wound was" -- real people like to talk to their docs about everything, some of which may actually matter to them and be relevant to the medical professional to boot.
Shine on darlings!