The Law Offices of Salazar, Sullivan & Jasionowski
Call now for a Free Initial Consultation
(888) 819-2544 | (505) 349-4003

Dedicated Personal Service For The Injured Free Confidential Consultations

Importance of qualified medical interpreters in hospitals

The increasing numbers of individuals living in the United States whose primary languages are different than English may not be a surprise to those living in New Mexico. However, the need for qualified medical interpreters is becoming a serious concern as patients and families face challenges such as medication errors and other negative events due to poor understanding. According to statistics, 9 percent of those living in the U.S. are exposed to the risk of adverse events due to language issues. Although many patients will rely on family members to interpret in medical settings, this is discouraged because a lack of knowledge about medical terminology can contribute to poor management of a case or result in a negative outcome. It is common for experts in the medical field to be aware of cases in which inadequate interpretation has posed a serious threat to the well-being of a patient. Similar pronunciations in different languages, for example, could result in the wrong body part being identified as the source of a medical problem. Language-related medical errors may be inconsistently monitored, making it difficult to identify progress being made. Additionally, it has been noted that those who are not native speakers of the English language are less apt to raise concerns about medical errors. Additional concerns exist with professional interpreters erring in their work, inserting personal perspectives or using terms that aren't part of the language spoken by a patient. The accuracy of professional interpreters is noted as being better among those who have had a minimum of 100 hours of training time.

Language-related medical errors may be inconsistently monitored, making it difficult to identify progress being made. Additionally, it has been noted that those who are not native speakers of the English language are less apt to raise concerns about medical errors. Additional concerns exist with professional interpreters erring in their work, inserting personal perspectives or using terms that aren't part of the language spoken by a patient. The accuracy of professional interpreters is noted as being better among those who have had a minimum of 100 hours of training time. A patient suffering serious health problems due to medical errors resulting from incorrect interpreting may be concerned about seeking damages through medical malpractice litigation. It may be helpful to meet with an attorney who is experienced in this area of legal practice to discuss the incident and its consequences while exploring the possibility of a suit.

Source: Modern Healthcare, "Hospitals often ignore policies on using qualified medical interpreters", Sabriya Rice , August 30, 2014

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information