Americans with Disabilities Act
11:16 am
Wed November 14, 2012

Deaf med student sues school saying disability being ignored

A Seattle man says his dreams of being a doctor are being dashed because Creighton University Medical School in Nebraska won’t accommodate his hearing impairment. At issue is just how far an institution must go to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The case, Argenvi v. Creighton University, is being heard in the 8th Circuit Court of Appeals in St. Paul, Minnesota.

Michael Argenyi, who has profound hearing loss, claims the school is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act because it has not provided him with interpreters and a real time captioning service known as CART. (See explanation below)

The university says it has made accommodations,  providing Argenyi with note taking services and access to power point slide shows, among other things. But attorney Mary Vargas, who is representing Argenyi, says CART and interpreting services are what Argenyi really needs to excel.

“They offered him in one class to sit in front of the professor. And in clinics they said he would be better prepared to be a doctor if he didn’t use the accommodations and if he could hear,” Vargas said.

School officials say the fact that Argenyi passed his classes is proof that he's been adequately accommodated.

But Argenyi argues, and the Department of Justice has filed a "friend of the court" brief agreeing with this, that the school must providet "full and equal access" to all of the programs provided by the university.

Growing demand for CART services

Argenyi is insisting that the way for the school to best serve him is to pay for CART services. This involves a stenographer transcribing what someone is saying in real time, sort of like a court reporter. The text appears on a screen for the the deaf person to read.  More and more deaf students are requesting this service. Here's a video from UC Davis showing CART being used by a deaf medical student in surgery.