I ran across an interesting post recently on the Chicago Tribune health blog, Triage. It was a brief alert to Spanish speakers that the National Council of La Raza had compiled on its Web site resources ― in Spanish and English ― about the swine flu. And it got me thinking.
The post underscored in a couple ways the complexity those in the healthcare industry face given the myriad languages and cultures with which it must deal every day. First, the post about Spanish was in English on an English blog. That’s interesting. Second, it was notable that having originated in Mexico, the disease apparently had not received adequate explanation in Spanish for some audiences in the U.S.
The council’s decision to include both languages also illustrated a very important point about communicating with Spanish-speaking limited English proficient (LEP) patients: They prefer bilingualism to exclusive Spanish.
One wonders if non-Spanish speakers who happened to be in Mexico during the outbreak received adequate English translation of important information related to the flu. In our interconnected global world, we simply cannot afford to ignore such needs.