ERIC Number: ED119503
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1975-Nov-22
Reference Count: 0
The Patient's Right to Clear Communications in Health and Mental Health Delivery Service.
Shuy, Roger W.
Persons from minority groups often are at a linguistic disadvantage in (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Nov. 22, 1975) the language and culture of the physician or psychoanalyst, who may be unaware of problems of understanding. Patients have certain language rights in medical care. (1) The right to human dignity in the medical relationship is jeopardized by, for example, a specialized professional vocabulary, the different cultural background of doctor and working-class patient, and the asymmetrical status of doctor and patient, where the doctor as the superior controls the conversation. During taped medical interviews with black, inner-city residents, the patients adopted their best English and tried to use medical terminology to avoid embarrassment. (2) The right to know what is wrong with their bodies involves the doctor's ability and desire to communicate and the patient's ability to understand. Even common medical terms may not be understood by ghetto residents. (3) The right to know why certain tests or treatments are given is important to the patient's peace of mind and dignity. (4) The patient's right to make decisions about alternative treatment must be maintained through clear explanation of test results and alternative treatments. It is suggested that medical schools include training in personal interviewing and minority languages and cultures and, if possible, that they recruit working-class doctors. (CHK)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at a Conference on Health and Mental Health Systems (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Nov. 22, 1975)