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denied medical care and charged instead - what can be done?

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  • denied medical care and charged instead - what can be done?

    There is someone who is deaf (became deaf later in life) and they went to a medical office in a large hospital in severe pain from an illness. They were there for a medical test for the illness ordered by their regular doctor. The nurse at the hospital clinic refused to communicate via written notes or a sign interpreter. While waiting and unable to communicate with any staff, the deaf person became very sick and the pain got to be very bad. The nurse refused to call for emergency medical help. The nurse also apparently refused to let them leave. The nurse claims they were verbally telling the deaf person to wait. The deaf patient didn't know this because it was never written down to them.

    They became hysterical and begged for help. The police arrived and arrested the deaf person for disorderly conduct and the deaf person became very sick in jail. They were even bleeding a lot, but they continue to be denied medical care and even food, water, or medications while in jail overnight. Doctors have later confirmed the condition was life threatening. The deaf person was kept in the jail without being informed of the charges against them or any chance to call anyone (using TTY or any other means of communciation). The client found out about what the charges were only after leaving the jail - they were not even written down on the release paperwork. (I have seen it myself!)

    Once released, they ended up in a hospital for the serious illness. There is likely irreversible damage to the their health as a result of the delay in care. Additionally, they are having panic attacks every time they see a police officer or medical facility and have to be medicated to even get medical care without having flashbacks of being at the clinic or in jail and denied any communication or medical care what was a life threatening condition.

    I am an advocate who is very concerned about what has happened. The police are pressing disorderly conduct charges when this person needed medical help, not criminal charges.

    Can the charges for disorderly conduct be dropped if someone is disorderly due to a medical illness they were trying to get care for but could not get because of the lack of accomodations?

    This just does not seem right for this to happen.
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