Anthony and Kate Hinton were just like any couple preparing for the birth of their first child — a little anxious, thoroughly prepared, and excited.
But then the hospital refused Anthony something afforded to every soon-to-be father: the chance to communicate with doctors during the birth.
As a deaf man, Anthony was relying on the hospital to provide an Auslan interpreter so he could actively participate in the delivery room. However, the request was denied by Westmead Private Hospital.
If that wasn’t enough of a blow, the couple launched a disability discrimination suit only to have it described by the presiding judge as “trifle” and “nothing more than a try-on”.
During his dismissal of the case in February, Federal Court Judge Alexander Street also suggested that the couple’s request to the hospital was equivalent to asking a shopkeeper to provide an interpreter when “buying a bag of chips”, reports The Sydney Morning Herald.
Now, that controversial ruling has been overturned by the Full Court of the Federal Court of Australia, a move that’s being hailed as a victory not just for the Hintons but for the entire deaf community.
Kate Hinton launched the suit against Westmead Private Hospital in late 2015, claiming staff were unable to provide her hearing-impaired husband with an interpreter during the birth of their first baby earlier that year.
“I explained how important it was for him to have an interpreter, because if anything were to go wrong he would need to make decisions on my behalf and if he doesn’t know what is happening he can’t really do that,” Kate Hinton previously told Fairfax media.