Daughter Had To Tell Deaf Father He Was Dying

Same Difference

When Francesca Bussey’s deaf father was admitted to hospital in 2019, she dropped everything to be available to sign for him. But is it always appropriate for relatives to interpret for their loved ones? And are we taking advantage of goodwill to cover for a shortfall in professional interpreting services?

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Francesca Bussey was at her elderly father’s bedside when a doctor arrived with terrible news.

Her profoundly deaf dad had been in hospital for a month, and although Francesca had repeatedly asked nurses to book an interpreter for him, he had received just two hours of British Sign Language (BSL) interpreting support.

“When he was well my dad could lip read,” Francesca says, “but by this point he could barely see. They put up a sign behind his bed – a picture of an ear with a cross through it – and they’d come round and shout at him, and…

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