Hearing Assistance Repeatedly Denied According to Lawsuit

Jacky Gale | March 10th, 2014

Long Island Hospital NegligenceTwo siblings have filed a lawsuit claiming a Long Island hospital was negligent in failing to provide hearing assistance and interpretive services for their father, Alfred Weinrib, deceased. Alfred was deaf and both of the plaintiffs are as well. Lance and Melinda Weinrib filed their lawsuit in the U.S. District Court in Central Islip.

The defendants are three New York hospitals: Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, and Gurwin Jewish Nursing & Rehabilitation Center in Commack. According to the complaint, these three facilities repeatedly denied the family’s requests for interpretive services and assistance throughout the seven months that Alfred was undergoing treatment.

Statements from two of the hospitals were not forthcoming; however, a spokesperson for Good Samaritan released a statement that noted the hospital’s protocol was to “offer sign language interpretation to communicate medical or clinical information to all hearing-impaired patients.” Despite this protocol, the family was only granted access to interpretive services after having been denied multiple times.

Patient never informed of his diagnosis

As a result of the alleged negligence at these Long Island hospitals, the deceased was unaware of his diagnosis at the time of his death. He passed away from cardiac arrest and malignant melanoma in April 2013 after having undergone treatment since September 2012. The decedent also suffered from seizures and pneumonia. Due to the lack of assistive services, the decedent’s children were also unaware of his diagnosis and only learned that he had cancer upon receiving his medical records after his demise. The lawsuit notes the decedent’s growing frustration over his inability to communicate with his own doctors. At one point, it states that the decedent wrapped a cord around his neck because he was trying to get the attention of the staff.

Disability discrimination may be involved

The Long Island siblings are demanding undisclosed compensatory damages for the apparent medical negligence. They contend that the three hospitals should be held liable for disability discrimination. According to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), a federal law, hospitals and other healthcare institutions are legally required to provide assistive services.

“Effective communication is particularly critical in health care settings where miscommunication may lead to misdiagnosis and improper or delayed medical treatment… hospitals must provide effective means of communication for patients, family members, and hospital visitors who are deaf or hard of hearing,” according to the U.S. Department of Justice. This law applies to all types of healthcare settings, ranging from the hospital gift shop and cafeteria to the emergency room and patient education classes.

Healthcare institutions may fulfill this requirement in a variety of manners, in accordance with the individual’s unique needs and condition. They may provide a sign language interpreter, an oral interpreter, a cued speech interpreter, or a Computer Assisted Real-Time Transcription (CART) service. The DOJ further notes that hospitals should ensure that hearing assistance and interpretive services should be regularly available to minimize delay.

Long Island medical malpractice lawyers

This tragic story is unfortunately only one example of common types of hospital negligence. Each day, families in New York and across the country face the devastating effects of disability discrimination and medical malpractice. While a hospital negligence lawsuit cannot undo the tragedy this Long Island family suffered, it can hold the defendants accountable for their actions.

If you or a loved one has suffered from disability discrimination, let the veteran trial lawyers of The Sanders Firm help. With more than 45 years experience fighting for the rights of New Yorkers, we have the expertise and the resources necessary to demand justice on your behalf. Schedule a free case review today by calling us toll-free at 1.800.FAIR.PLAY.


  1. Becker’s Hospital Review, Lawsuit Claims Long Island Hospitals Failed to Assist to Deaf Patient, http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/legal-regulatory-issues/lawsuit-claims-long-island-hospitals-failed-to-assist-to-deaf-patient.html 

  2. Newsday, Lawsuit: 3 LI medical facilities didn't communicate with deaf patient, family, http://www.newsday.com/news/health/lawsuit-3-li-medical-facilities-didn-t-communicate-with-deaf-patient-family-1.7099235 

  3. U.S. Department of Justice, ADA Business BRIEF: Communicating with People Who Are Deaf or Hard of Hearing in Hospital Settings, http://www.ada.gov/hospcombr.htm