D.C. Deaf Community Ready for Coronavirus Hotspot?

NAD: Being Deaf Cannot Be a Basis For Denying Ventilators

What does the “quality of life” mean as a Deaf patient who experiences COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in a hospital setting?

Society views the Deaf community as ‘Disability’–some Deaf people do not believe in being Deaf is part of the disability. Some Deaf people accept the disabled because they allow society to define who they are. The system is powerful. I choose not to let society define my state of being Deaf as a disability. American Sign Language (ASL) is my choice–language minority. I do not allow the hearing community to define WHO I AM based on my state of being Deaf and state that I am disability.

Harlan Lane writes: “A disability is a limitation of function because of an impairment. Deaf people are limited in some functions because of an impairment of hearing. Therefore, Deaf people have a disability.”

It is important to be aware of this quote. The problem is that the system has colonized the Deaf community. Is it their fault? No, it is not. Most recently, I read the newspaper article by the Washington Post (4/6/2020) which is an important topic to discuss this.

“THE WASHINGTON POST: DON’T DENY VENTILATORS TO DISABLED PATIENTS. IN VENTILATOR RATIONING, DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE DISABLED IS IMMORTAL.”

Honestly, there are many questions to be seen, discussed, and examined. Of course, society views the Deaf community as ‘Disability’–the article discusses the “quality of life” that could be the most important question of all humanity.

“LET’S EXAMINE ‘QUALITY OF LIFE’ FIRST. DENYING PEOPLE WITH PREEXISTING DISABILITIES LIFESAVING TREATMENTS FOR DISTINCT CONDITIONS, BASED ON THE CONCERN THAT THE DISABILITY LIMITS THE QUALITY OF THEIR LIVES, RAISES DEEP AND SERIOUS ETHNIC QUESTIONS. MAY A DOCTOR DENY SUCH A TREATMENT TO A PATIENT WHO MOPES HIS WAY THROUGH LIFE, ON THE THEORY THAT THE HAPPY-GO-LUCKY PATIENT IN THE NEXT ROOM WILL BENEFIT FROM IT MORE? OR TO MAKE THE POINT EVEN SHARPER, WHAT IF POOR PEOPLE OR MEMBERS OF STIGMATIZED MINORITY GROUPS EXPERIENCE LESS HAPPINESS IN THEIR LIVES THAN THOSE WHO ARE BETTER OFF? WOULD IT BE ACCEPTABLE TO PREFER THE WEALTHY FOR LIFESAVING TREATMENTS BECAUSE THEY WILL OBTAIN A GREATER BENEFIT FROM IT?”

A good example: If there were two people have COVID-19, life-threatening condition, entering into the emergency room at a hospital, a hearing person has a health insurance, and another person who happens to be Deaf who also have health insurance, the problem is that there is ONE ventilator available, who would be first to give? Hearing. Why? Privilege. Worthy for a quality of life. As for the Deaf as viewed as Disability would not be considered a quality of life.

Second example: A Deaf patient with no health insurance, as for hearing patients also do not have health insurance in the same room, who would go first for the ventilator? Again, hearing. Why? Hearing people comes first. Sound and speaking are important. Who would be qualified for a life of quality? Let’s save the hearing population first. Reason? Deaf community views as a poor and marginalized community. Again, if the person is hearing from a poor and marginalized community, and the Deaf person is from a poor and marginalized community, too–who would go first? You decide.

There are many examples of this situation. Think about it.

“SAVING MORE LIVES AND SAVING FEWER. THE CHOICE IS WHICH LIFE WE SHOULD SAVE–AND WHETHER A PREEXISTING DISABILITY SHOULD BE A BASIS FOR THAT CHOICE. STILL, SHOULDN’T WE PRIORITIZE THOSE WHO WILL LIVE LONGER LIVES, OR LIVES OF HIGHER QUALITY, AFTER THEY RECEIVE LIFESAVING TREATMENT?”

Let me share a good example. UGLY LAWS. Based on a true story–on looks, eye-cross, Deaf, people with disabilities, would be shunned from the public eye (restaurants, stores, etc), gets arrested, being punished for being disability in the public until the 1970s and became illegal in America.

Why? Their quality of life is not worth it in society. Now, let’s discuss ventilators–an ideological- political war. It is important to save a human life, no matter what.

“BIAS DOES NOT JUST AFFECT JUDGEMENTS ABOUT THE QUALITY OF LIFE WITH A DISABILITY. IT ALSO RENDERS SUSPECT JUDGEMENTS ABOUT DISABLED PERSONS’ EXPECTED LENGTH OF LIFE.”

Let’s focus on “DEAF”–is it worth living for the quality of life? My experience, I had several heart attacks in the past, WIFI at the hospital is not always that great, as for VRI (Video Remote Interpreting)–even worse, blurry, or freezing–needs to be thrown out of the hospitals. It is best to have an ASL interpreter–why? Quality of life–a simple solution.

NAD (National Association of the Deaf) recently posted a video to inform the Deaf community how to be prepared should you have COVID-19, which is a major embarrassment to watch. Explaining to make sure to bring the iPhone charger, laptop, notepad, etc. It is “good enough” for the Deaf community. It is a death penalty.

If NAD really cares about the Deaf community, the video was avoiding responsibilities and excuses, the ventilators are a human right even in the Deaf community, imagine if a Deaf patient has a COVID-19, and views as a “disability” on the shortage of ventilators, debating the quality of life, that is a major issue right now.

“DENYING VENTILATORS TO CORONAVIRUS PATIENTS WITH PREEXISTING DISABILITIES IS THUS NOT AT ALL THE SAME AS MAKING A BATTLEFIELD TRIAGE DECISION TO DO THE GREATEST GOOD FOR THE GREATEST NUMBER.”

Would NAD realize the severe problem about the ventilators as a human right, no matter what? Do not allow the politics to control the Deaf community on the ventilators and weaken NAD in every shape or form. Do not let the lack of ventilators murder the Deaf community.

For example, most recently, there was a Deaf patient with COVID-19, an interpreter explaining about it on a video where a nurse was helpless and comforted a dying Deaf patient was heart-breaking to see. That could have been avoided. The video was viral. No access to ASL interpreter, VRI, friends, loved ones, and that is a good example: “quality of life”–so, think about this. What does “quality of life” mean to you all?