Professional Medical Interpreting
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Medical Interpreting Services Help Avoid Medical Malpractice

Professional in-person medical interpreting services play an important role in avoiding medical malpractice lawsuits.  A very common occurrence in a hospital setting, particularly an emergency room, is the arrival of a non-English speaking patient. In such a situation the physician often struggles with trying to understand the symptoms and make a correct diagnosis. This becomes an issue when the patient can only communicate in a foreign language and no qualified foreign language interpreter is available. In the worst-case scenario, it becomes a medical malpractice problem.

Several cases have developed a theory of law that allows a patient who experienced harm because of the physician’s inability to effectively communicate with him to have grounds for filing a malpractice suit. Although this may seem like a lack of informed consent case, it typically manifests itself as a lack of proper treatment case. In other words, because of the doctor’s inability to communicate with the patient, the doctor failed to provide adequate medical care.

The simple solution is to use a medical interpreter to assist with communication and thus lead to proper diagnosis and treatment based on the patient’s actual symptoms. After all, professional foreign language medical interpreting services cost less than a potential medical malpractice judgment.

Up Next: Medical Interpretation, Medical Interpreter Services, Foreign Language Barriers and Informed Consent