UNCG Campus Weekly

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Sam Parker helps inform medical interpreters about infectious diseases

Photo of Sam ParkerSam Parker (Education) remembers it well. A clinical associate professor in UNCG’s deaf interpreter preparation program, he got a call that a deaf person was in the hospital and needed an interpreter. He rushed to the hospital with little or no information. When Parker entered the hospital room, everyone was wearing protective suits. Everyone but him. The patient had TB.

“Often interpreters are on the frontline,” he says. “We may see the patient before the doctors, before the nurses. We’re meeting them in the lobby of the ER.”

Misunderstandings, miscommunications and the current panic over Ebola prompted Parker to call Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center (WFBMC). His question: How can we work together to better disseminate information about Ebola and other more prevalent diseases to deaf interpreters and the deaf community?

Parker and Jeff Beaman, director of infection prevention at WFBMC, organized a three-hour workshop to inform medical interpreters about Ebola and other infectious diseases. The workshop, Medical Interpreting in the Time of Ebola, took place Saturday, Dec. 6, in the UNCG School of Education Building.

Parker worries that panic over Ebola will cause medical interpreters to stay clear of hospitals. More likely threats are TB, flu, measles and whooping cough. “How much fear and misinformation is out there that we can try to alleviate?” Parker asks.

By Michelle Hines
Full story at UNCG Now.