Language Miscommunication in the Healthcare Sector: A Case Report

Document Type: Case Report


College of Medicine, University of Sharjah, Sharjah, UAE.


Introduction: Effective communication is of paramount importance to the safety of patients and quality of care. With all the racial and ethnic diversity in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), the language barrier is a hurdle that healthcare providers have to handle. Such barrier affects various aspects of healthcare for non-native speakers, including health status, access to care, and use of health services. Language barriers impair the clerking process, resulting in misdiagnoses or poor management decisions.
Case:We presented a typical case of language miscommunication, which led to an improper management decision that could have led to serious complications to the patient. In this report, we have discussed the outlines of the case and the mistakes that led to its occurrence. We also provided recommendations to prevent the occurrence of similar incidents in our environment and elsewhere based on the United States (U.S) Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) language access plan.
Conclusion: Patient safety, quality of care, and patient rights, each in themselves, are sufficient to justify commitment to optimum communication. Together, they make effective communication with patients obligatory.


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