Lip-reading and the ventilated patient

Ellen C. Meltzer, James J. Gallagher, Alexandra Suppes, Joseph Fins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Objective: 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. Design: Case report. Setting: The burn unit of a university teaching hospital in New York City. PATIENT:: 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. INTERVENTIONS:: 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. Conclusion: 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1529-1531
Number of pages3
JournalCritical Care Medicine
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2012


  • Burns
  • communication
  • end-of-life care
  • intubation
  • lip-reading
  • medical ethics
  • tracheostomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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