Reflections from residency
Language can be barrier between doctor, patient
Mr. V arrived at my outpatient clinic with a complex array of medical problems, having recently been discharged from the hospital following a massive heart attack and still undergoing treatment for cancer. An elderly gentleman who had spent much of his life abroad without medical care, he was thrust abruptly into the American health care system. Mr. V spoke no English — like many patients under my care. The language barrier, I came to learn, presented a serious challenge to building a relationship with him.