Mom says she wasn’t informed deaf son was stabbed, hospitalized due to no ASL interpreter

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Oklahoma mother says she was left in the dark about her son's stabbing because police never sent him an interpreter.

Angila West said no one informed her – nor any other relatives – that her adult son, who is deaf, had been stabbed and hospitalized. She said police never arranged for her son, Robert "Bobby" Osborne, to speak with an American Sign Language interpreter.

West found out something had happened when she got a call late Tuesday morning from a woman working at her son's apartment building. The woman said Osborne was wandering the halls and did not seem coherent.

“She said, 'Please come and check on him,'" West recalled. “He's got blood all over him.”

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When she arrived, West found her son barely coherent. “I thought he was going to die,” she said.

Osborne had suffered two stab wounds to his back, but West only learned what happened to him after he’d already been released from the hospital and sent home. Using sign language, he was able to tell her bits and pieces of what happened to him. He said he was walking home late at night when he saw a fight outside a store. Next thing he knew, one of the people involved stabbed him, she said.

“And he said he just ran. He just took off running,” West said. “And I guess he got help somehow because they took him to OU Hospital.”

But he only spent a few hours there. The hospital called him an Uber ride home when he was discharged, West said.

She also showed Nexstar's KFOR pictures of a blood-soaked hospital gown and blood-soaked hospital pants she says Osborne was sent home wearing. That's what he was wearing when he was seen wandering the halls of his apartment building.

West wishes she’d known what happened sooner so she could have been in the hospital with her son.

“I don’t know, I don’t even know,” West said while fighting tears. “I’m just sitting here watching my son to make sure he won’t die… And I just don’t understand it.”

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West said Bobby was born deaf and uses American Sign Language to communicate. She said she would have at least liked to be in the hospital with her son to act as an ASL interpreter with the medical staff.

West ended up calling Oklahoma City Police for an explanation of why she wasn't contacted. She said they told her they didn't have a sign language interpreter on duty, so they weren't able to ask Osborne for a family contact to call.

KFOR also reached out to the Oklahoma City Police Department for an explanation about why an interpreter wasn't provided.

“We will always do our best to communicate with anyone who is a victim or otherwise,” a department spokesperson said.

She also called the hospital to tell them Bobby was still bleeding hours after being released.

“And [the hospital] said, ‘You can call 911 if you want to, but we wouldn’t have turned him loose if it was life-threatening,’” West said.

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“When he is responsive, he is just barely in and out,” West continued. “And he's telling me he's having real bad headaches.”

Being left in the dark isn't an entirely new experience for the family. She said her son was attacked before while living homeless in Shawnee, Oklahoma. She said she never got any calls that time either.

“And I think people need to know what's going on out here with these handicapped,” West said. “I’ve done nothing but fight since I’ve been here because he’s handicapped…I have screamed at the top of my lungs so many times that—that I’m tired.”

“They treat [disabled people] like they’re garbage, but they’re not,” West said. “They have rights too. They have rights."

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