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Old 29.08.2019, 10:15
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Doctor refused to speak in English

Please read these two articles:

https://www.20min.ch/schweiz/basel/s...eden--30862074

The original story: https://www.reddit.com/r/Switzerland..._with_me_what/

What is your opinion on this matter.
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Old 29.08.2019, 10:19
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

Both party's state that when the doctor realised that German was not understood that the Doctor switched to English.

So why is this news?
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Old 29.08.2019, 10:26
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

If the doctor does not feel confident he can ask the correct questions and explain properly in a foreign language?



Apart from that, he speaks one of the Swiss languages


Speaking english with friends is a completely different ball game from speaking "medical" english....


Edit:



in the article the person says that he/she is not fluent. Why then expect a doctor to be fluent in medical terms?

Last edited by roegner; 29.08.2019 at 10:45.
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Old 29.08.2019, 10:33
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

Click bait ..
After a few minutes they both happily spoke English..
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Old 29.08.2019, 10:39
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

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"Click bait"

Don't assume so. Do ask to clarify.
I have shared this story as it happened to a relative. So, there! There is no need to entice.
Your relative was also helped in English since (s)he did not speak a native Language?

Last edited by EdwinNL; 29.08.2019 at 10:57.
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Old 29.08.2019, 10:43
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

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Click bait ..
After a few minutes they both happily spoke English..
"Click bait"

Don't assume so. Do ask to clarify.
I have shared this story as it happened to a relative. So, there! There is no need to entice anyone.
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Old 29.08.2019, 10:44
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

This is news because the New Zealander posted it in Reddit, which is now a source for reporters. Add a bit of sensationalism in the headline, make the happy end unimportant, and viola, the newspaper has a story shared around the world.

This is why critical reading has become more important than ever.
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Old 29.08.2019, 10:45
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

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"Click bait"

Don't assume so. Do ask to clarify.
I have shared this story as it happened to a relative. So, there! There is no need to entice anyone.
What is that even supposed to mean?
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Old 29.08.2019, 10:48
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

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Click bait ..
After a few minutes they both happily spoke English..
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Your relative was also helped in English since she did not speak a native Language?
This point of this article is to find out the general opinion among English speakers. I am neutral in this 'transaction'.

Yes, the doctor did end up speaking in English (fluent, that is) but after realising how silly it was for him to translate to him. This crux of this issue is the way the doctor handled the situation.

My relative asked if English was okay since he is not fluent in German. And that the doc insisted on speaking 'his' language despite having a patient who isn't fluent in German.

Language barrier vs care.
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Old 29.08.2019, 10:50
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

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"Click bait"

Don't assume so. Do ask to clarify.
I have shared this story as it happened to a relative. So, there! There is no need to entice anyone.

You shared two articles with us, both of them say that after some initial talk in german, the doctor switched to English.

So yes to me it's clickbait ..
.. "Doctor refused to speak in English" ..
Is more like .."Doctor started off in the local language and then helpfully switched to another language to assist the patient"
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Old 29.08.2019, 10:56
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

It’s a total non story if you ask me.
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Old 29.08.2019, 10:57
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

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You shared two articles with us, both of them say that after some initial talk in german, the doctor switched to English.

So yes to me it's clickbait ..
.. "Doctor refused to speak in English" ..
Is more like .."Doctor started off in the local language and then helpfully switched to another language to assist the patient"
The doctor did refuse to speak in English. He only budged at the end after realising that conversation in German was not effective. If you had read the articles, you would have known that the doctor said 'no' to speaking in English. That is a clear rejection.
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Old 29.08.2019, 11:02
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

My (Basel) GP speaks very good English ( and we both speak pretty good French) but when he's reading or writing his notes, or specialist's reports, he always does so in German, and I ask for clarification of the points I don't understand. As a consequence I now know a lot of German medical jargon to that's relevant to my health, and am much better prepared when dealing with medical staff who don't speak English. A win-win, really.

Similarly, my dentist, who's German, can speak English, but as we're in a French speaking area that's the language that's used. All else apart, how many of the admin or support staff are fluent enough in English (or German)?

Yes, this headline is classic click-bait, a non-story, something that happens on a daily basis for those not fluent in the local language or dialect. It will always be so, and we native English speakers can just be thankful that increasingly wide services and industry use English as a default or fall-back language, a mutual common-ground for non-native speakers.
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Old 29.08.2019, 11:03
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

Whatever happened (I have not read this story in full), in all medical situations the patient's welfare comes first at all times. If neither side speaks the other's well enough to communicate then there needs to be someone translating, otherwise the patient's life could be at risk.
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Old 29.08.2019, 11:05
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

Our local GP speaks fluent English.

He's made it a selling point and he advertises the fact on his website is in both German and English. He also has a sign on reception stating "English spoken".

What the moaners on this thread need to understand that unlike the U.K, for example, where there is a National Health Service paid for out of general taxation, and where the treatment is 'free', here it's a paid-for service like a restaurant, a car dealer, a haircut or whatever.

As such, these services should provide the service that the customer wants (if they are able to) as, after all, the customer is paying for it directly.

(I appreciate there are differences between the way a hospital and a GP surgery function and are financed).
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Old 29.08.2019, 11:07
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

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here it's a paid-for service
True. Partially though funded via insurance and subsidies.
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Old 29.08.2019, 11:09
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

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The doctor did refuse to speak in English. He only budged at the end after realising that conversation in German was not effective. If you had read the articles, you would have known that the doctor said 'no' to speaking in English. That is a clear rejection.
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Old 29.08.2019, 11:09
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

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True. Partially though funded via insurance and subsidies.
Like car repairs for the former and electric cars for the latter. We're still customers.
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Old 29.08.2019, 11:10
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

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Whatever happened (I have not read this story in full), in all medical situations the patient's welfare comes first at all times. If neither side speaks the other's well enough to communicate then there needs to be someone translating, otherwise the patient's life could be at risk.
That is precisely the point of this story. The doctor spoke really well in English. And the patient (concerning a surgery no less) queried about the surgery and so on. If a patient asks 1st if he could converse in English, and the doctor 'no', not because he is NOT fluent in it, but for other reasons. The doctor said that he will continue to speak in his language and translate it to the patient. In fluent English.
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Old 29.08.2019, 11:18
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Re: Doctor refused to speak in English

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This point of this article is to find out the general opinion among English speakers. I am neutral in this 'transaction'.

Yes, the doctor did end up speaking in English (fluent, that is) but after realising how silly it was for him to translate to him. This crux of this issue is the way the doctor handled the situation.

My relative asked if English was okay since he is not fluent in German. And that the doc insisted on speaking 'his' language despite having a patient who isn't fluent in German.

Language barrier vs care.
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The doctor did refuse to speak in English. He only budged at the end after realising that conversation in German was not effective. If you had read the articles, you would have known that the doctor said 'no' to speaking in English. That is a clear rejection.

So my opinion on the matter, as an English speaker.

No matter if it's a doctor, a cleaner, a butcher, a taxi driver or whatever else..
One should not be so arrogant as to assume that all service providers have some duty to switch to your language, whatever that may be. Your relative is lucky that they found somebody able and willing to change language, another doctor might have cancelled the appointment and told them to get a translator.
Trying to sensationalize the story is just silly ..
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