Normally in telephone game, the initial message provided to the first person is distorted by the time it gets to the last person where the message changes its meaning completely. In this regard, the last person may end up doing something very different from what was supposed to be done. Communication is very important in health care. Communication between a patient and a physician plays an essential role in determining the form of care a patient will receive. It determines the effectiveness of patient assessment and prescription of the right medication. Communication barrier between a patient and a doctor can easily results to misdiagnosis and hence medication error. It can as well result to misunderstanding of the physician medical instruction and at the end of the day, a patient may fail to receive proper car.
Communication barrier has once made me misinterpret patient’s words and cause a great misunderstanding. The patient was a teenage Latin girl who did not speak proper English and could literally mix her English statements with Spanish words. There was no one who understood Spanish in the health center I was working in. In this regard, I just decided to concentrate on the English statements. She had a big cut on her leg and as I was assessing it, I happened to ask her of the cause of the wound. She started explaining how she was having a quarrel with her boyfriend and mixed with Spanish. I immediately assumed that she was cut by her boyfriend and reported abuse matter while in the real sense she meant an accident happened after the quarrel. The boy had a bad experience with the police officers before the matter was cleared up. This could have been avoided by using a hired translator or anybody else who understood the two languages effectively.
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