Sign language, useful and inclusive in medicine

ANDIt is essential for medical personnel to learn Mexican Sign Language (MSL), thereby helping or guiding deaf and deaf-mute patients, helping to clarify any doubts they may have in the consultation, said María Guadalupe Fragoso Palafox, head of the Disability Area of the Dr. Galo Soberón y Parra Health Center.

the author of the book Disability is not disabilityhighlighted that the Ministry of Health has implemented a series of trainings in LSM aimed at the medical personnel of the hospital entities of the Azcapotzalco mayor’s office, so that they learn that language as one more language and are able to communicate with patients with hearing disabilities.

All associations that fight for the benefit of the deaf community seek in some way the right to be included in society, the LSM is one more language to communicate with them and to know what they need or want, and to be able to support them, he added.

Infographic credit: Research Area of ​​the National School of Social Work-UNAM.
Coordination of Research Studies and Intervention with Families, content review. Prof. Andrea Kenya Sanchez Zepeda.
Field research, office and content development: COPRED Social Communication. Jorge Morales Novas.
Design: ENTS Social Communication.

He pointed out that when health personnel attend to a hearing-impaired person they do not know how to communicate with them, so it is essential to look for a series of tools that help communicate with them even without knowing LSM, including pen and paper, if they know how to read the patient, or the use of mime and a series of drawings, in the case that he does not know how to read or write.

In addition, we must see them from the front to be able to understand them, have a flipchart, triptychs and diptychs, “and if we have a computer, use it to show them faster what we want to teach them,” he continued when participating in the conference The Use of Sign Language in Medical Practice, organized by the Faculty of Medicine (FM).

But not only health personnel must learn sign language, but also guards, for example, because they are the first contact with patients and who guide people who come to medical care.

In addition, it is necessary to know important tools such as the regulation of people with hearing disabilities. During their care, a certain distance must be maintained with them “to use our hands properly, not to cover our mouths because many have lip reading, not to chew gum or not to be eating, because they will not understand us.”

Likewise, the winner of the 2017 Medical Award, granted by the Matilde P. Montoya Medical Women’s Association, recommended that when caring for the person with this disability “we should not pull them by the shoulder, because with this they feel aggression, we should touch them with our index finger to call him and get his attention.

Unfortunately, he added, there are few people in the health area who know Mexican sign language, there is still much to learn, if that language was known in each office, the panorama would be different, the same community would go to the consultation in a common way.

The doctor, who lost her hearing at age 11, mentioned that not only health personnel should learn LSM, but society in general, to be able to interact with this population.

72 million in the world

In this regard, Daphne Abigail Barquera Guevara, student of the Program for the Support and Promotion of Student Research of the FM, highlighted that according to the World Federation of the Deaf there are approximately 72 million deaf or deaf-mute people in the world, more than 80 per cent live in developing countries and between them they use more than 300 different sign languages.

Regarding Mexico, added the moderator of the talk, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography reports that there are around two million people with hearing disabilities, 35 percent of whom are between 30 and 59 years old and 47 percent are older. 60 years old.

Guadalupe Fragoso, who is also an LSM instructor, pointed out that one of the very successful actions in terms of inclusion of deaf and deaf-mute people is the presence of interpreters on television, “this helps us a lot, because the community can find out what what happens in the world”.

However, he specified that this action has not been fully accepted and only some television programs in the country put subtitles on their programming, which can also help the deaf community, especially if they know how to read, although in theaters they do not. They have fully respected this measure. “Awareness is needed so that television and cinema programs are with an interpreter or with subtitles to be communicated with society.”

Finally, he said that trust between doctor and patient is established if the former knows sign language, if they communicate properly there will be no problem, but if a family member intervenes “we must truly corroborate what they are telling us.”

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