(Not) Lost in Translation

Studies reveal that 20 percent of Spanish speaking Latinos in the U.S. do not seek medical treatment due to language barriers. According to the Census Bureau, Hispanics are the racial or ethnic group least likely to seek medical care. Communicating the exact pain, discomfort, or illness you’re experiencing is a crucial part of receiving medical care and when there is a disconnect in that communication, the whole process is futile. Language shouldn’t keep anyone from receiving basic medical care which is why the Arthur Nagel Clinic is happy to have a bilingual member on their staff.

Angelica Hernandez is not only the receptionist at the Nagel Clinic, she also handles most of the Clinic’s translation services. For patients who speak only or mostly Spanish, Angelica helps them through patient intake interviews and their other interactions with doctors, nurses and counselors at the Clinic. She translates important questions and information between the Clinic staff and the patient. Angelica is a crucial part of the Clinic’s team because without her, the communication between physician and patient would be lost in translation.

Angelica became a citizen of the United States a little over a year ago. She came to the United States fifteen years ago with her husband and two daughters, both of whom have already graduated college. Initially, she was reluctant to make the big move, but her husband convinced her, and Angelica says she loved raising her children in Bandera.

Angelica bridges the gap between patients who are in need of medical care and Clinic staff who want to help but are unable to overcome the language barrier. She is assists patients in receiving care and she assists the Clinic staff in communicating questions and treatment plans. She is a valuable asset the Arthur Nagel Community Clinic and a lifeline for non-English speaking patients in need of medical attention.