Fact Check: Lviv Hospitals Are NOT Assisting Only Those Who Speak Ukrainian Or Have Translator

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  • Автор: Lead Stories Staff
Fact Check: Lviv Hospitals Are NOT Assisting Only Those Who Speak Ukrainian Or Have Translator Denied

Are Lviv hospitals in Ukraine assisting exclusively those who speak Ukrainian or have a translator? No, that's not true: The press office of Lviv City Council denied the claim circulating on social media in correspondence with Lead Stories. Ukraine's laws allow the use of other languages in the health care system, and Lead Stories has found no evidence of the claim.

The claim appeared in a video on the TikTok account @alexandr_turner (archived here) on November 6, 2023, and was also shared by the account @yorkerus (archived here).

The text shown in the video (translated from Russian to English by Lead Stories staff) states:

Ukrainians hit rock bottom again. In Lviv hospitals, assistance is now provided only to those who speak Ukrainian or have a translator. What about Russian-speaking military?

Below is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-11-13 at 11.34.12.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Nov 13 11:36:11 2023 UTC)

The video's author provides a screenshot of a Facebook post by Ukrainian journalist Kostyantyn Andriyuk, dated November 5, 2023, (archived here), showing a photograph of what looks like a printed sign attached on a wall, with the following announcement (translated from Ukrainian to English by Lead Stories staff):

On the hospital's premises, they communicate exclusively IN THE STATE (UKRAINIAN) LANGUAGE. If you need to address the medical staff in the language of the aggressor, please come with a TRANSLATOR. Art. 27 of the Law 'On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language.'

The caption added:

Hospital in Lviv. Simple and accessible!

Below is how the post appeared on TikTok at the time of writing:

Screenshot 2023-11-13 at 11.39.40.png

(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Mon Nov 13 12:02:11 2023 UTC)

Both the video's author and Andriyuk have not given any information on where the alleged sign was and when. A search for the phrase "In Lviv hospitals, assistance is provided only to those who speak Ukrainian" (archived here) on November 9, 2023, by Lead Stories using Google News' index of thousands of credible news sites, did not reveal any evidence-based reports on the claim. Lead Stories contacted Andriyuk for a comment and will update the article if a reply is received.

The press office of Lviv City Council, contacted by Lead Stories, denied the claim. On November 10, 2023, in response to Lead Stories' inquiry on this matter, they wrote by email:

This information is not true and absolutely fake. Thank you for your request.

On April 25, 2019, the Ukrainian Parliament passed a law "On ensuring the functioning of the Ukrainian language as a state language," but it allows the use of other languages within the health care system. Article 29 of the law states that the language of health care, medical assistance and medical services is the state language. However, at the request of a person who applies for medical assistance or medical care, treatment may also be provided in another language acceptable to the parties.

Article 27 of this law, referred to in the sign in the video and the Facebook post, is not strictly related to medical services. Article 27 refers to the use of state language in the field of technical and project documentation, and states:

1. Technical and project documentation in Ukraine is produced in the state language.
2. If necessary, technical and project documentation can be translated into any other language.

The Ukrainian embassy, in its official explanation of the law, states that in case a patient requests to be admitted by a doctor using the Russian language, and the doctor has no objections, this can be carried out in Russian. Often, this is what happens. However, if a doctor deliberately refuses to speak to a Ukrainian-speaking patient in Ukrainian, this may result in an inspection "because it is about protecting the state language."

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