Immigrants and Health Care: Newcomers, New Challenges

Medically Speaking in Spanish

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

It won't make users fluent (in either Spanish or medicine) and can't take the place of a skilled interpreter. But Margaret Graham's "¿Ahora Hablo! Medical Edition" (Megusta Publishing, $9.95) could offer one more tool to clinical staff and volunteers trying to communicate with Latino patients.

Get your grammar and conjugation basics elsewhere. What's more useful in this pocket-size book is the list of handy medical words and expressions (each with a phonetic English pronunciation), organized by health specialty. Por ejemplo (for example), the allergist, or someone on his staff, may want to be able to ask a patient to blow (soplar) or spit (tragar). The cardiologist might like to know that a clot (coagulo ) won't interfere with breathing (respiracion). When a patient complains about a salpullido, a pharmacist would want to know that's a rash.

There's also vocabulary for a medical exam, body parts, symptoms and common conditions.

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