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Old 29.04.2020, 00:05
doropfiz doropfiz is offline
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Re: Make yourself heard in hospitals if you wait for too long

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And for those not fluent in the local language, it wouldn't be a bad idea to have a summary of your medical history correctly translated to keep on hand.

While some (many?) doctors are willing to speak Engish, you should never assume that all will. Things really can get horribly 'lost in translation' when your medical German (French, Italian) vocabulary isn't foolproof, especially when you are in distress. Just a short summary is all that is needed.

And don't forget your Patientenverfügung!
Yes! Very good advice!

On one occasion, a doctor call an ambulance to get me to hospital. The doctor followed procedures, and so, too, did the ambulance paramedics when delivering me to hospital. Even though the information was passed on, and although it was serious, once in hospital I was not seen immediately. Fair enough, the staff are under stress, they have to try to assess needs and it's busy.

While waiting, I gradually lost the ability to speak up for myself. A friend had travelled in the ambulance with me. She spoke no local language at all.

But it turned out that before the ambulance had arrived, just before the emergency doctor had left, she'd had the presence of mind to ask that doctor to write down (she told him it was for me so that, later, I would understand what he had decided) the relevant medical terms. He obliged. Then, she'd popped a few sheets of paper and a pen into her bag, just before climbing into the ambulance with me.

While we were waiting in the hospital's emergency intake, she tore the paper into about six pieces, each roughly postcard size. Onto each one, she wrote the doctor's name, copied out his vocabulary in block letters, added my name and date of birth, and drew a very rough, identifiable sketch of me. Then, each time a nurse passed by, she jumped up and said: "I know you're busy. This is what the emergency doctor said about this patient here," and gave them her note.

I was soon seen, and the doctor thanked her, because her note had alerted them to the seriousness of the matter. Later, I asked her how she'd had that very clever idea. She explained that she'd previously worked with children with a hearing impairment, and had sometimes given them such a slip of paper when they had to wait somewhere (non-emergency). In my case she knew a provisional diagnosis, but she said she would otherwise have written down the main symptoms. I'm very grateful to her!
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