Not only was this visit a waste of his time, it caused a significant delay in delivering
needed care, during which time his symptoms worsened. Dr Roberts did advocate to secure a sign
language interpreter and even noted the need for interpreter services in Jim’s chart so that the clinic can
plan for effective communication in the future. However, Dr. Roberts was surprised that Jim was a
successful financial analyst and was reluctant to talk with Jim about smoking cessation, thinking, “wow.
I’m surprised that a Deaf man could have a successful career,” and “Under these circumstances with a
normal patient, this would be where I warn him about the dangers of smoking. Especially with how long
he’s been taking it up. But, I don’t know. It seems like it would be downright cruel on my part to ask him
to give up one of the few simple pleasures he has going for him.” The implicit assumption that disabled
patients are incapable of having jobs, or have a lower quality of life than non-disabled patients, are likely
examples of ableism. Ableism refers to discrimination or prejudice against individuals with disabilities.
As a healthcare provider, Dr. Roberts should have talked with Jim about smoking, encouraging him to
quit or referring him to tobacco cessation resources, regardless of Jim’s disability, race, ethnicity, or
other marginalized identities.