Important role of an interpreter in hospital settings

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) – Going to the doctor can be an overwhelming experience. Add to it a language barrier and the visit can be even more challenging.

Last week we introduced you to the family of 6 year old Week Day, who died of COVID-19 complications. Week Day spent time in the hospital before she died and her parents say the situation was even more difficult because of language barriers.

“After that they took her to the hospital and they lay her on the bed and at that time they didn’t put any oxygen on for her to breathe yet and they also tried to reach the interpreter for me, but they have a hard time to get an interpreter for me,” mom, Mu Mu said.

Now we take a look at how crucial an interpreter’s job is to families across the country and here in KELOLAND.

Diana Navas is a Spanish interpreter for the Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls. It’s something she has been doing for about two years.

“If a patient has an appointment and they prefer a person interpreter then I would go to the clinic or hospital and interpret whatever the doctor or nurse is discussing with them,” Spanish interpreter for the Multi-Cultural Center of Sioux Falls, Diana Navas said.

She says an interpreter can be beneficial for the patient, not only for general medical information, but also information regarding COVID-19 and vaccines.

“A lot of them have questions, or they are afraid to ask because of that language barrier, sometimes they feel like they won’t be listened to or questions or concerns, so it’s important that somebody is there to speak on their behalf of them and let them know what is going on with their health,” Navas said. “It is important for them to know how to take care of themselves, how to be healthy, basic things they can do in order to really get in front of that virus, and like you mention with COVID, there’s so much information.”

It’s also a service she says is growing as more people move to the community.

“There are more of non-English speaking people, either just came from another country or maybe state so that is growing in our community, so that is really needed,” Navas said.

To learn more about services provided by the Multi-Cultural Center click here.

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