And push … for interpreters by Paul Leonard

What were you doing on Wednesday 2nd April 2008?  Or how about Sunday 16th December 2012?  I can tell you exactly what I was doing … Maybe these pictures will help?

phoebe

Phoebe was born just before 8pm in April

 peter

Peter was born just before 2am in December

So yes, I was at the Birmingham Women’s Hospital watching both of my kids being born.  A fantastic experience and ones I will never forget in a very long time.  But could they have been better?  Could they have been improved?

Well, for most people I guess you would say, “well no, how can you improve on the birth of your kids?”  They were both natural births, no c sections which is good but both of the births were very different.

When Phoebe was born, I remember we went in about 9am and because waters had broken, we were kept in – basically, paternity leave had started there and then.  By about 12pm it was obvious that although things were going well, “now might be a good time to phone the interpreting agency.”  (You all know my wife is deaf, right?)  They phoned and by 12.30/1pm sure enough our interpreter had arrived.  She was fantastic!  I shan’t name her but when she first arrived, I had my reservations thinking, “you’re a bit young to be interpreting something like this”.  It turns out it was her first birth she has interpreted … and still her first to date.  Anyway, Phoebe arrived minutes before 8pm and although tired from interpreting, our interpreter was still there helping out at gone 10pm at night – a true star.  Thank you so much!

By contrast, Peter’s birth was very different.  We arrived at around 9pm on a Sunday night and when I asked for an interpreter on our arrival – the looks I got.  As if to say, “what do you want an interpreter for?!”  I explained that my wife was deaf and they told me, “give us minute to get things sorted and I will call them”.  Fine … I thought.  10pm passed and still no interpreter, “oh we will call them when she’s a bit further gone”.  11pm … 11.30pm … 12.00am. “oh she’s progressing really well” … “but where’s the interpreter?” … “oh, I don’t think we can phone now, its too late – you’re coping ok aren’t you?  You can do it!”

And that’s pretty much how it was!  I am not a qualified interpreter, I wanted to spend the time supporting my wife through perhaps one of the excited/nerve wracking times of our lives and this is what they tell me!?

Don’t get me wrong, I am certainly not a racist but with signs all over the hospital in various languages it is obvious they provide translators for people who can’t speak English so why was my wife left without a qualified interpreter?!  It’s not good enough NHS!

I am also very very sure this isn’t an isolated incident. Why should deaf people be left to suffer without full access?!

Originally published at: www.paleonard1979.wordpress.com

PAL

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