The most important job of a doctor is to provide information to their patients. It is part of the job description to make complex medical topics simple and easy to digest. It also means that doctors have to be aware of their patient’s education level, language barriers, societal barriers, socioeconomic status, etc. All these factors play a huge role in how a patient understands and analyzes a situation.
Language barriers are especially tricky to navigate. In America, hospitals are required to provide translators for everyone that wants one. However, even this is often not enough. Much of what a patient understands occurs well after a doctor has left the room – it is very common that people need time to process information and debrief.
Spanish is especially important for me in the Emergency Room because there are so many Spanish speaking people who need access to good medical care. For the 52 million Spanish speaking people in America, finding online resources to refer people to is very helpful.
Merck Manual has recently released a Spanish version of the website that has been very informative. Find it here.