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Lawsuit Settled for Deaf Parents

Back in 2013, in Minnesota, Julie and Matthew (z-vatos) Svatos were expecting the birth of their daughter named Stella.


However, the child ended up having health problems and had to go through several tests. One of those tests included radiation exposure like a x-ray. That is a serious discussion to be had by the parents with the pediatrician, right? The parents have to give permission for their daughter to be tested and treated.


Here is their statement on a video clip that is provided by a Minnesota local news station KSTP.


 I did not understand anything. And it was really not fair that I could not understand or know about my daughter’s health problems, and it is because they didn’t explain it to me, not anything, nothing at all.


It was a traumatic experience for us, trying to get through all of this without the proper information...we were panicked.


Matthew, a deaf man, requested an ASL interpreter through Fairview Health Services so he could be actively involved in making important medical decisions with the pediatrician. The hospital staff asked Matthew’s wife, Julie, to interpret for Matthew instead of a certified interpreter. Keep in mind that it is required by Fairview policy as well as state and federal law. The policy also emphasizes that family members should not serve as interpreters.


The family decided to file a complaint with the state. The state then sued Fairview in federal court. Kevin Lindsey, the Minnesota Commissioner of Human Rights, helped investigate the situation.


He said the problem was that the staff was not properly trained.


After 4 years, the (z-vatos) Svatos family and Fairview have finally agreed on a settlement. The settlement states that Fairview will improve training for all the staff that work at hospitals in the area. Also, Fairview will be forced to report to the state for the next 3 years on what ASL services are being provided and of any problems with the services. Lastly, in the settlement, Fairview paid the family some money, but the details on the amount were not released.


This is the 3rd lawsuit against Fairview Health Services in the last 2 years. Hopefully, they learned their lesson this time.


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