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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. Case report. The burn unit of a university teaching hospital in New York City. 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. 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. 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.


Ellen C Meltzer, James J Gallagher, Alexandra Suppes, Joseph J Fins. Lip-reading and the ventilated patient. Critical care medicine. 2012 May;40(5):1529-31

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PMID: 22430239

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