MONCTON – A Moncton mother has been trying for months to get a copy of her son’s medical diagnosis in English, but says she’s been told by the Vitalité Health Network that it’s not a service they provide.
Shanna Worden’s 11-year-old son, Chayse, was diagnosed with level one Autism by a doctor in the Vitalité Health Network in August.
Though the consultation with the doctor was done in English, the document identifying the diagnosis was provided to her in French, which Worden doesn’t understand.
“I want to be able to read it,” she said. “I want to be able to absorb it. I want to be to look at it and understand it.”
Worden was referred to a doctor in the Vitalité Health Network by her family doctor, who is under the same network. She said when she and her family moved to New Brunswick in 2005, she went on the waiting list for a family doctor and this was the one she was assigned.
“It was a really emotional day for me because I waited 11 years for it,” Worden said. “[The doctor] said I know you don’t speak French, but this is the language I have to give it to you in because it’s corporate language.”
Worden wants to apply for the disability tax credit, but she doesn’t want to use a document she can’t read herself. So, she’s tried several times to acquire a translation of the document.
She was told Wednesday that it’s not something they do.
“This is a bilingual province. I should be entitled to fully understand a document that I get,” Worden said.
When reached by e-mail, Vitalité spokesperson Luc Foulem said they could not discuss a specific patient case but said they follow the provisions set out in the Personal Health Information Privacy and Access Act.
While hospitals in New Brunswick are required to provide service in either official language, provision 9(a) of the act says if the information is not available in the individual’s official language of choice, the health authority only needs to provide “the individual with access to a physician or other health care provider to assist the individual in interpreting his or her record,” which Vitalité did for Worden.
The only time they are required to provide a translation is for “a unilingual physician treating the individual, if the record is in an official language the physician cannot understand.”
The Office of the Access to Information and Privacy Commissioner told Global News they couldn’t comment on this particular case but said individuals have a right to file a complaint.
Global News contacted the Office of the Language Commissioner but were instead directed to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner. That’s the office that oversees the act and the Office of the Language Commissioner doesn’t have jurisdiction in this case.
Worden said after making several complaints, someone at Vitalité told her on Wednesday it was possible to get a translation done for a fee.
She said this isn’t an option for her because she lives on a low-income and feels it shouldn’t have to be.