Medical interpreting spread to support Deaf persons

June 15, 2012

Shimada Jiro (68), a Deaf resident of Hirakata-shi, Osaka Prefecture, has appealed the necessity for the medical sign-language interpreting.

It was a cause that he lost the one-year-old eldest daughter 40 years ago, which he has repented, saying, "It was too late to notice her pain."

Shimada-san received the vaccination of typhoid at the elementary school at the age of eight. He felt painful in both his ears and lost hearing suddenly. The doctor explained only that the vaccine did not suit. Ever since Shimada-san was unable to follow a lesson and play, only he felt alienated strongly.

Shimada-san went on to the Prefecture Ikuno School junior high school department in Ikuno-ku, Osaka City. "I knew then that I was not only one person who was Deaf. I felt saved a bit."

He acquired the dental technician's qualification and married the Deaf wife when he was 27 years old. The daughter was born after he started to live in Hirakata-shi.

Although she received the vaccination of smallpox at the 1 years-old and seven months, her arm swelled up. After only by collecting blood in the hospital which Shimada-san visited with his daughter, they were already on the way home, so he thought lightly that it was nothing to be worried about the daughter's sickness.

However, at midnight of the day the daughter got worse. When he went to another hospital confusedly, he was blamed by the doctor for not doing properly about her serious condition. She passed away soon in encephalitis.

Shimada-san regretted her sudden death; "I was unable communicate with a doctor exactly, and had not paid attention to my daughter's pain. If a full-time sign-language interpreter were available in the hospital, she would not have to die. The same misfortune should not happen again."

In order to promote an understanding to sign-language interpreting, Shimada-san became the city personnel after passing the disability employment examination at the age of 40, and worked for the Deaf person's assisted living, arrangement of the sign language course, etc.

He retired at the age of 60, and established the civic organization for medical interpreting to start providing interpreting services in the support of the foreigners as well as the Deaf in Hirakata-shi in January, 2011.

Shimada-san says, "For those who are Deaf or can't speak Japanese, I would like to make the environment where medical treatment can be provided in comfort."

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