Twice a week, on Tuesday and Friday, a Normandy clinic offers, for the first time in the region, a general medicine consultation in sign language. A doctor, who herself practices sign language, sees deaf and hard of hearing people. The Reception and Care Unit for Deaf Patients (UASS) has just opened at the Clinique Miséricorde in Caen (Calvados). Only around twenty units of this type exist in France.
In Normandy, many associations have been calling for this unity for a very long time. “Usually, the deaf patient is always forced to adapt to the caregivers. Here, it’s the opposite. We adapt to him, and we conduct the consultation in sign language,” explains Doctor Aubrillon.
During the consultation, the doctor is generally accompanied by an interpreter and a deaf mediator who ensures that the patient has perfectly understood the message. “Too often, deaf people, out of weariness, pretend to understand what the doctor says,” explains the team. When a deaf person reads lips, it is in fact established that they can only grasp on average 30% of the message. Which obviously generates problematic misunderstandings in the medical context.
“We still see too many patients totally lost in their care, because everything is oral and they don’t always understand what is happening. It is not normal. This type of unity must become widespread,” argues Dr. Aubrillon. Not to mention that, without an interpreter, deaf people are often
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