Language barriers can impose serious hurdles when it comes to diagnosing and treating medical conditions. If you have incurred medical expenses or suffered harm due to a communication error, you may be entitled to compensation. At DeFrancisco & Falgiatano Personal Injury Lawyers, our Syracuse medical malpractice lawyers can conduct an in-depth investigation to uncover the cause of the injury and help you determine your rights. You can rest assured that we can help you build a case that will not only provide accountability and justice for you but also protect others from suffering a similar experience.
Communication issues caused by language barriers seem to be a bigger problem than you may imagine in the United States. According to census data, as many as 1 in 10 working adults in the country have limited English-language proficiency. The 1964 Civil Rights Act and subsequent laws require hospitals and other medical facilities that offer medical services and receive federal funds to give “meaningful access” to patients so that they can make informed decisions regarding their health. In addition, studies reveal that patients with limited English-speaking proficiency are more likely to experience adverse events than English-speaking patients.
Inadequate communication may lead to delays in diagnosis, incorrect diagnoses, treatment errors, and the inability of the patient to correctly comply with treatment recommendations, and they may cause other issues as well. Despite these potential problems, many people who need interpreters do not have access to them. In some cases, people’s children or relatives serve as interpreters, but this is not always appropriate because non-medical interpreters often do not know the medical language to explain things fully and properly.