Breaking Down Language Barriers in Health Care
January 08, 2019
One day, I was walking down 6th Avenue and a woman shouted in Spanish, "Are you an interpreter?”
I said, "yes, I am, do you need help?”
The woman explained that her daughter was very sick and, as a mother, she felt scared because she didn’t speak English. She had no idea how she was going to explain to the doctor what was wrong. She told me that once she got to the Emergency Department, a language interpreter was called. That interpreter helped her understand, in her own language, that her daughter was going to be OK.
I asked her how she knew I was also an interpreter and she pointed to my orange lanyard. "I noticed all the interpreters that helped my daughter wore one, and I just wanted to say thank you."
I thanked her for sharing her story and before I left she said, "thank you for caring, some people don't treat us with respect because they think that because we don't speak English, we are stupid. I have a degree in my country and every interpreter that worked with us not only interpreted but also cared."
I am very fortunate to work for an organization that serves my community in such a unique way. I feel proud to be part of this team and Denver Health.
Nexis Guadalupe is the Medical Interpretation Operations Manager at the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Center at Denver Health. Find out more about Denver Health's Language Interpretation Services.