Streams

Interpreting Health

Monday, March 08, 2010

One in four New Yorkers don't speak or understand complex sentences in English. But at some point in their lives, every one of them will need to see a doctor. Language barriers can result in misdiagnoses, medication errors, and potentially fatal mistakes that are costly for both patients and providers. For this reason, hospitals in New York are required to provide "meaningful language access" to all patients. But in a city where more than 140 different languages are spoken daily, how is it possible?
The majority of patients in the city's public hospital system need language interpretation services.
The majority of patients in the city's public hospital system need language interpretation services.
Bellevue Hospital's atrium
Bellevue Hospital's atrium
Evens Jean, a Haitian Creole and French interpreter at Bellevue Hospital, uses the TEMIS system to work with patients.
Evens Jean, a Haitian Creole and French interpreter at Bellevue Hospital, uses the TEMIS system to work with patients.
Hospitals in New York State are required to provide free interpretation services for patients who don't speak English.
Hospitals in New York State are required to provide free interpretation services for patients who don't speak English.
Tong Woo Lee, a Korean immigrant with limited English language ability, is in Bellevue Hospital for an infection in his spine. He is speaking to Dr. Ofri through a telephone interpreter provided by the company Pacific Interpreters.
Dr. Danielle Ofri relies on telephone interpreters daily.
Dr. Danielle Ofri relies on telephone interpreters daily.
Bellevue Hospital has hired 28 people to work at an on-site telephonic interpretation service similar to the one used by the United Nations. They get an average of 6,500 calls a month.
Bellevue Hospital has hired 28 people to work at an on-site telephonic interpretation service similar to the one used by the United Nations. They get an average of 6,500 calls a month.

More in:

News, weather, Radiolab, Brian Lehrer and more.
Get the best of WNYC in your inbox, every morning.

Leave a Comment

Register for your own account so you can vote on comments, save your favorites, and more. Learn more.
Please stay on topic, be civil, and be brief.
Email addresses are never displayed, but they are required to confirm your comments. Names are displayed with all comments. We reserve the right to edit any comments posted on this site. Please read the Comment Guidelines before posting. By leaving a comment, you agree to New York Public Radio's Privacy Policy and Terms Of Use.

Sponsored

Feeds

Supported by