Federal lawsuit filed against nursing home alleging deaf discrimination

By Gary Scott on August 18, 2015 at 8:27am

Litigation has been filed in federal court on behalf of three residents of Jacksonville healthcare center.

The suit, filed on July 31st in Springfield, claims the Prairie Village Health Care Center violated the Americans with Disabilities Act in its treatment of patients Mabel Niehls, Delbert Shumate, and Marjorie Sympson. Those three, as well as their companions or legal guardians, are named as plaintiffs.

The suit, which only represents one side of the claim, indicates all three are deaf and have been denied effective means of communication repeatedly during vital encounters with nursing home staff for over a year.

Niehls, Shumate and Sympson were admitted to the center in 2013, according to the suit.

It indicates Prairie Village ceased providing and refused to hire or obtain regular American Sign Language interpreter services that would enable the residents to communicate with nursing home staff, and failed to provide video phones or other auxiliary aids.

The suit claims the lack of service leaves the patients unable to meaningfully participate in their daily care needs, unable to understand medical procedures or course of treatments, or to provide informed consent during countless vital encounters with nursing home staff.

The suit claims this has resulted in unnecessary stress and humiliation, as well as physical injuries.

The litigation claims Prairie Village Health Care Center provided ASL interpreters “on occasion”, but has failed to provide ongoing adequate or effective services for over a year.

In addition to an injunction seeking the provision of necessary services, the suit seeks damages in excess of $75,000 for each resident.

The three individuals are represented by attorney Stephanie Matthews of Chicago.