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Judge Orders Medical School To Reinstate Deaf Student

Provided by Zach Featherstone
Zach Featherstone with his wife and daughter

A Northwest medical school has been ordered to reinstate a deaf student who took the school to court after it wouldn't let him begin classes.

As KPLU reported last month, Zachary Featherstone sued Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima after it admitted him, then wouldn’t let him attend. The university said his admission might harm the training of other students and put patients at risk.

Other medical students have trained deaf doctors, but Pacific Northwest said it didn’t have the ability to provide interpreters and captioning devices.

Last week, U.S. District Judge Salvador Mendoza, Jr. granted a preliminary injunction requiring the university to allow Featherstone to enroll. That order allows Featherstone back into the classroom, but it doesn’t settle the overall lawsuit.

In a statement, Featherstone’s attorney, Mary Vargas, said Featherstone will begin his medical education on Aug. 4.

Paula reports on groundbreaking legal decisions in Washington State and on trends in crime and law enforcement. She’s been at KNKX since 1989 and has covered the Law and Justice beat for the past 15 years. Paula grew up in Idaho and, prior to KNKX, worked in public radio and television in Boise, San Francisco and upstate New York.
Ed Ronco is a former KNKX producer and reporter and hosted All Things Considered for seven years.
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