This week I came across an article which highlighted the problem of language barriers in the hospital. Even for those patients who speak English, medical terms are not part of their vocabulary. Things may get lost in translation. Medicines can be given for what the doctor misunderstood the patient to be sick from.
A study done also showed that Spanish and Chinese speaking people have higher rates of readmission either because of their inability to fully understand discharge instructions or their lack of access to post hospital care.
If there is no family member who can speak English, the patient can be very vulnerable to medical errors. Getting an interpreter can be difficult, especially if medical decisions have to be made quickly.
Make sure that a family member or friend who speaks English can be with you. Make a doctor or nurse listen to you and don't be afraid to say that you don't understand. Have someone read the papers you are asked to sign.
If you think that your medical malpractice case was caused by a language barrier issue, call us toll free at 1-800-299-HURT.