Objective: To present a clinical ethics case report that illustrates the benefits of using lip-reading interpreters for ventilated patients who are capable of mouthing words.
Design: Case report.
Setting: The burn unit of a university teaching hospital in New York City.
Patient: A 75-yr-old man was admitted to the burn unit with 50% total body surface area burns. He was awake, alert, ventilator-dependent via a tracheostomy, and able to mouth words.
Interventions: A deaf lip-reading interpreter and a hearing American sign language interpreter worked together in a circuit formation to provide verbal voice for the patient.
Conclusion: For the ventilated patient who can mouth words, lip-reading interpretation offers an opportunity for communication. It is time we routinely provide lip-reading interpreters as well as recognize the need for prospective studies examining the role of lip-reading in medical settings.