Helping Families in Austin Breathe Easier

Case Study

When you have a child with a chronic health condition, you want to provide them with access to the best possible care. This was the case with Mr. and Ms. Hart, who didn’t know where to turn when it came to asthma treatment for their daughter, Gabriella. Money raised through Red Nose Day supports programs like the Austin Children’s Health Project, which was able to help Gabriella greatly during a difficult time.

After Hurricane Harvey, the Hart family relocated to Austin, Texas. In addition to worrying about their daughter’s health, financial stability, and job security, both parents face a significant communication barrier: they are deaf.

Within weeks of starting school, Gabriella suffered an asthma attack and was admitted to Dell Children’s Medical Center Hospital. Once discharged, the parents faced a substantial barrier. Doctors at the hospital communicate with patients and family over a video interpretation system, but without an interpreter, there was no way for the parents to ask questions or understand next steps. Gabriella’s school heard about the issue and called Austin Children’s Health Project’s patient access representative, Joshua Aguilar.

Joshua was able to reassure the family by setting up an interpreter for their specific needs. He brought the family and interpreter onto the medical mobile unit to see our Medical Director, Dr. Marilyn Doyle, who spent time educating them about asthma management. Dr. Doyle listened to the family’s specific concerns: the parents were worried about being able to afford the appropriate medications for Gabriella since they did not have health insurance. The mobile unit team provided the medications to the family at no cost. When Gabriella couldn’t swallow her medicine in pill form, our team adjusted to liquid medication, again at no cost, to quickly suit the patient’s needs.

In addition, Joshua listened to the concerns of the family in regards to the problems they had with the hospital’s video interpretation system. He made sure that their communication needs were met going forward, and advised the family about the process of requesting a live American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter before their next visit.

The medical team at Austin Children’s Health Project created a safe communication environment for the Hart family and helped them gain control over a situation that felt overwhelming at a time when they were exceedingly vulnerable.

Thanks to the support of people like you, Gabriella is now able to best manage her condition. She is ready to truly start her new life in Texas, healthy and ready to learn.