How Emergency Interpretation Services Save Lives

Emergency Interpretation Saves Lives

There isn’t much time for second-guessing or delayed reaction when an emergency happens. We rely on people in the medical field to assess our situation and make quick decisions. For native English speakers, we don’t have to give this another thought. We never have to question whether or not our responders can understand us.

It is essential to realize that for many Americans, this isn’t necessarily the case. A vast majority of our country is composed of people who don’t consider English as their first language. This is why interpretation services for emergencies are so important. When it comes to an emergency, a language barrier could be a matter of life or death.

Understanding Is Key to Patient/Doctor Relationships

In general, the quality of a doctor/patient relationship substantially impacts the patient’s life. When a person feels genuinely understood, they are more likely to follow through in their health care options provided by their doctor. Effective communication may seem obvious, but it is often taken for granted. Because English may be the second language to many citizens living in America, there is still room for error when trying to understand everything, especially medical terminology.

When facing a true emergency, the ability to understand someone in their primary language is indispensable. The slightest misunderstanding could create a series of consequences that otherwise could have been easily avoided. When it comes to medical emergencies, interpretation services can significantly impact the quality of care.

Real-Life Examples of interpretation Services Saving the Day

Consider these real world examples of how crucial interpretation services are.

Marlon Munoz

A man named Marlon Munoz worked in radiology in his local hospital. His non-English speaking wife had a medical appointment with a non-Spanish speaking doctor. The doctor discovered she had breast cancer and would need treatment. Unable to fully express her condition himself, the doctor had to turn to her husband to deliver the devastating news. The difficulties continued as she moved to chemotherapy. There was never a complete understanding of her treatment options between surgery and medication.

With no interpreter, they weren’t able to receive the whole picture of her condition. They had to base their decisions on what they could understand. Given the circumstances, even a native English speaker would have a difficult time understanding all aspects of the medical information provided. It wasn’t even an emergency in this situation, yet miscommunication and misunderstandings prevented this couple from understanding what treatments were most beneficial or necessary. They had to rely solely on trust to understand medical documents and their interactions with their doctor.

Mario Arroyo and Carmon Gomez

Real-Life Examples of interpretation Services Saving the Day

Image Source: CBS46 News

In 2019, Mario Arroyo and his wife, Carmon Gomez, dialed 9-1-1 due to signs of labor at 32 weeks. Unfortunately, their son would end up born within the amniotic sac. As non-native English speakers, they relied on a foreign language interpretation service. Their medical responder, Juan, quickly bridged the language gap between the 9-1-1 callers and responders to ensure both mother and baby received the emergency medical treatment they would need. In addition, Juan was able to interpret the situation in Spanish to ensure that all the information was relayed accurately.

Emergency Interpretation Services

Emergencies are more prevalent than much of the public could understand. 9-1-1 centers receive millions of calls a year. In the U.S. alone, there are more than 350 spoken languages. This demonstrates the real need for an interpreter on speed dial who can bridge any communication gaps.

These services are beneficial for both patients and medical professionals. This ensures that the patient is at ease and fully understands the necessary treatment. This also ensures that the medical staff is given explicit permission to undergo any treatment necessary. This can help save both time and money. Having clear medical information from the start allows for better care due to accurate information provided by the interpreter from the beginning. This ensures that less time is spent communicating the medical issue, and more time is spent on treating and correcting the problem.

What to Look for in Qualified Medical Interpreters

When it comes to interpretation services for emergencies, you’ll want to work with qualified medical interpreters. These interpretation services require knowledge of the medical language, staying calm under pressure, retaining a clear head, and being willing to translate all information, no matter how difficult. In addition, a great interpreter will be able to moderate the flow of information. This means the ability to process the information and provide it to the individual needing interpretation as quickly and accurately as possible.

It helps to hire those who understand what it’s like to be at a language disadvantage, especially when it comes to being a patient in a place that is foreign on several levels. First, you want a translator who can make your patient feel at ease. The calmer and more understanding a patient is, the better chance quick decisions can be made, especially in an emergency.

In traumatic emergencies, emotions run high. There is a natural feeling of urgency, and in reality, every second counts. This rush of emotions can impact communication, especially in situations where there is a clear language gap. A skilled medical interpreter will understand the necessity of pushing their own emotions aside to deliver whatever news is available to the patient. Communication that is open and honest is crucial in these situations. When there is no time to spare, the necessity of understanding is unmeasurable.

Benefits of a Qualified Interpreter

Communication is critical in all emergencies, regardless of how severe. A qualified interpreter provides this direct communication. Not only can they relay emergency responder advice on immediate medical care, but they can also mirror the care and compassion expressed to try to reassure the caller that their emergency is being handled. In addition, they communicate feelings that help provide a further level of comfort when discussing continued medical treatment. This is important for the person seeking care and the medical professionals available to provide that care.

Our medical system relies on permission from the patient. If they can’t provide those permissions due to a language barrier, they may miss out on the medical treatment they truly need. Qualified interpreters help save lives and improve overall patient care, even outside of emergencies.

Providing Medical Care That Lasts

Medical Interpretation Services

In an emergency, clear communication is necessary to make sure that all crucial medical permissions can be provided to ensure the best treatment. This means having an emergency interpretation service available at any given time. Any hesitation can waste valuable minutes. The ability to communicate clearly and effectively can build a lasting relationship between patients and doctors outside of emergencies. Many non-native English speakers avoid medical treatment due to perceived language barriers. This can cause a minor issue to be missed until it becomes a more significant emergency situation.

Medical interpreters can help save lives as well as improve general patient care. They can help to ensure even the basics are gathered correctly, such as medical history. Medical history plays a significant role in the overall care plan because it highlights potential genetic problem areas. Even someone bilingual could have an issue understanding the nuances of medical terminology. When smooth communication is possible through an interpreter, it ensures that the best treatment plan can be followed. It also means that there will be fewer errors in treatment because even the most minor details can be communicated effectively. This provides an ease of health care that otherwise could be stressful and frustrating due to a lack of understanding.

Save Lives With Medical Interpretation Services

Translators trained in this field can provide clear medical clarifications and questions and provide a deeper level of comfort to the patient. Knowing you are understood can provide peace of mind to make it through any emergency situation. When time is one of the most important factors, you don’t have the luxury of wasting a second of it. When it comes to emergencies, both medical professionals should already have professional healthcare interpretation services available. A life could depend on it.

About Kazuki Yamazaki

Director of Interpreter Service Kaz has been in the language industry since 2005. An interpreter himself, he oversees all operations of the Virtual Interpretation Division (OPI/VRI) for Telelanguage Inc. His responsibilities include Recruitment, Staffing and Coverage Coordination, Quality Assurance, and supervision of over 6,000 contracted/employed interpreters. Additionally, he leads our interpreter certification program. Kaz matches the interpreters’ unique skill-sets to specific organizations and customers. He develops and implements recruitment strategies as well as talent retention plans to ensure access to the most qualified interpreters in over 350 languages.