– Hey guys, welcome to another episode of the Wednesday Checkup. Today, we’re gonna be
talking about a viral video that I saw on Twitter this weekend. It brought some strong emotions out of me, and I wanted to discuss it with you. (energetic music) A mother and a grandmother
go to a cardiologist’s office in San Bernardino. The mother is translating
for the grandmother, and the doctor says
something along the lines of, “You should really know
how to speak English,” to the grandmother. Then the cell phone
video starts recording, so here, take a look. – [Mother] This is ridiculous. Let’s go. – [Doctor] Fine. You can go. – [Mother] Yes, well I
cannot believe (mumbles) – [Mother] Call, let them know… – [Doctor] It won’t bother me a bit. – [Mother] That you are so offensive. – [Doctor] I’m not offensive. – [Mother] You don’t need
to get into if she speaks… – [Doctor] I’m not offensive. I am an American. – [Mother] So what? – [Doctor] Born here. – [Mother] I’m right here to translate for her. You don’t need to do
nothing but to tell me what’s wrong with her, if
she’s okay, if she’s not. Then I’ll translate to my mother. You don’t need to tell me that
she needs to learn English so you can communicate. Communicate through me,
and I’ll let her know. – [Doctor] It’s not the same. – [Mother] It doesn’t matter! – [Doctor] Yes, it does matter. It’s not the same. It’s not the same. – [Mother] He is so stupid! I’m right here to translate for my mother, and he’s telling her
that to be in his care, she needs to learn English. What the fuck is that? (Grandmother speaks in Spanish) You’re making my mother cry. Really? – That was hard to watch. And this really resonates with me because I was an immigrant. I didn’t speak English when
I first came to America, and I was mistreated at times
for not knowing the language. On top of that, I care
deeply for my patients in my hospital, and many
of them are Hispanic and don’t speak English
as their first language. The last thing that they
need is another barrier to getting quality health care. I watched the video a few times over, and I couldn’t really get a good idea of what happened prior
to the video recording, but I dug a little deeper
and found on Twitter the granddaughter actually
wrote what happened. Doctor walked in, Grandma
asked if he spoke Spanish. He said, “Why should I? You came here.” My mom said she’ll translate. This comment was ignored. Then he asked, how long has she been here. My mom says, “Over 45 years.” He then says, “And you
don’t speak English?” My mom responds, “She never had to go, “no one ever had an issue with it, “plus I go with my mom
everywhere she needs to be. “I translate.” Then he says, “Roosevelt said,
if you don’t speak English, “go home.” So my mom responds, “Okay, you know what? What does that have to
do with her health?” He says, “Nothing. “She’s been in this country. “She should know English.” So my mom starts getting heated. That’s when I start recording. The video does tell only
one side of the story. I’ve tried looking to see if the doctor or the hospital system made a statement, but I couldn’t find anything online. I did speak to Angie, who
actually recorded the video and posted it to Twitter. She gave us the rights to use this video. She even gave us some information that administration wasn’t
really helping her grandmother or her mother. On top of that, the most
unfortunate part of all this is that her grandmother did
not get the medical care that she needed! Now, let’s talk about what,
ideally, should happen in the case that someone
comes to a medical office and speaks a foreign language. Let’s use my office as an example. If a patient comes in,
speaks a different language than myself, it’s my responsibility to offer them an interpreter, whether that means an interpreter
phone, an iPad video chat, or an in-person interpreter. If the patient prefers to have
a family member translate, and this happens, that’s their right, and I will go with that. That being said, it’s not the most ideal to have a family member translate because what I find often happens is that the family member
has some sort of bias, not in a bad way, but
just has some sort of bias about what’s going on, about
what the patient may understand or not understand, and sometimes
words get mistranslated. They may not be fully trained
to translate medical terms, but if my patients want that,
and they’re comfortable, and I have a good relationship with them, I’m totally fine, and
we can make that happen. This is not what happened here. This doctor came into a situation where the family member was active, interested in helping the situation, interested in helping the doctor, and somehow, there was this level of, I hesitate to say, narcissism, but it’s really this I’m Greater Than You mentality. It goes against everything
that we’re trained to do. When we take the Hippocratic Oath, we’re trained to help all people. Doesn’t matter what country they’re from. It doesn’t matter their criminal status, what sex they are. Our job is to help people. I think this brings up a really good point for us to discuss why
diversity is so important within the field of health care. When you come from a similar
background as the patient, you actually have better outcomes. This has been talked about and proven in some studies in the past. When I’ve worked in, for
example, Coney Island Hospital, during my third year
internal medicine rotations, I saw some of the specialists talk to the Russian-speaking patients, and I saw there was a gap. There was a gap in that culture, and that gap in that culture broke down the doctor-patient relationship to the point where even though the doctor was giving great
advice, great treatment options, the patient wasn’t quite getting it. So what I was able to do because I spoke the language, because I have a Russian background, I was able to come in, fill that gap, allow the patients to understand where the doctor was coming
from, weigh those options, and really fostered a healthy
line of communication. So for me, I’m a huge supporter
of increasing diversity within the field of health care. It’s only gonna serve
to benefit our patients. I recently even made a donation from Limitless Tomorrow to STFM, which is the Society of
Teachers of Family Medicine. They have a fund for
underrepresented minorities in medicine. Ultimately, it’s so
unfortunate that the doctor had to go about this in such
an insensitive manner. And I think that the patient would benefit from learning the English language, not only with dealing with
the health care system, or the voting system, it
probably would benefit her, and perhaps he could have
motivated her to do that, or given her some options
of ways to do that, but just to come in
with a judgmental tone, say those things, not
deliver any health care, you’re not helping anybody. Now, I’m proud to say I work
at Overlook Medical Center, where we see a lot of
Spanish-speaking patients and even other languages. We have an interpreter system online. We even have a charity care system that allows for patients to get low cost, or even sometimes free health
care without any insurance. Just because our hospital
is a non-for-profit system, that allows for this to happen. I’m proud to work there, and I’m proud to take care of an immigrant population. I know what it’s like. It’s not easy; it’s a
difficult road coming to a new country, and anything that doctors can do to help, they really should. Thanks for watching, guys. I know this isn’t the typical video that we do for Wednesday Checkup, but it brought up some emotions in me, and I wanted to share it with you. Special thanks to Angie
and her grandmother for going through this
regrettable experience and still allowing us to
not only learn from it, but also to emphasize
the need of diversity within healthcare. As always, stay happy and healthy. (energetic music)