Practice What Your Patient is Thinking

If your patient doesn’t speak the same language as you . . .

BMJ 2017; 357 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.j1511 (Published 20 April 2017) Cite this as: BMJ 2017;357:j1511

Re: If your patient doesn’t speak the same language as you . . .

We have had serious ethical issues with young family members being expected to translate for their older family during a consultations. This led to our practice getting specific advice from the MDDUS to use professional translation services whenever possible. In some cases, children have inappropriately been expected to translate for their parents on personally sensitive subjects, and we have had to reschedule the consultation for when a professional translator could attend. Language difficulties don't have to be barriers, and they can force us to really think about how we effectively communicate, but there are other issues other than just communication one has to consider.

Competing interests: No competing interests

21 April 2017
Jane Crawford
salaried GP
Perth
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