First-In-The Region Closed Captioning in the OR Benefits Deaf Medical Student

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Jill Chadwick

News Director

Office: (913) 588-5013

Cell: (913) 223-3974


             It’s tough enough being a medical student, but imagine having a hearing impairment as well. That hasn’t stopped Bonnie McKee, a med student at The University of Kansas School of Medicine. Thanks to strong hearing aids and good speech-reading skills, Bonnie sailed into her third year, but then came her stint observing in one of The University of Kansas Hospital’s operating rooms…where everybody wears a mask. Lip reading was not an option…so what to do?

            The hospital and the school came up with an innovative solution. They brought in a local company that does closed captioning, and set up monitors around the operating room for Bonnie to see. With the doctors and nurses wearing microphones, and off-site transcribers hearing everything, everybody’s spoken words appeared on the screen in real-time, allowing Bonnie to get the full experience of observing the operation.

            In the video, Annette Pascarelli, with A.P. Captioning, explains how off-site workers listen and provide real time captions, and how they’re the first in the region to do this. Also, Bonnie McKee, 3rd year medical student, talks about what the equipment will do for her, how she feels about using this system, and why this setup is a lifeline for her. The video also includes shots from inside the operating room during an actual surgery showing how the system works.