Health & Wellness

Non English speaker patient option..?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 18th, 2021 7:55 am
[OP]
Newbie
Jan 8, 2015
72 posts
28 upvotes
Kitchener, ON

Non English speaker patient option..?

My girlfriend has some medical concern that she wants to see a doctor. She is not Canadian, does not have a health card, and speaks very broken English.

I have contacted many doctors that can speak her language, but all of them are either family doctors that do not see walk-in patient, or work in a public health/hospital that are not available to book.

We communicate in English, and only use very simple sentences and words. I don't mind seeing another doctor with her, and do the translation. But it will be close to impossible because she can hardly express her medical concerns in English.

What are my options here...? Thanks in advance...
12 replies
Sr. Member
Dec 12, 2005
818 posts
265 upvotes
Richmond
How bad is her medical concern? Does it warrant an ER visit? If so, check the hospital if they have any interpreter. Otherwise, find a person who speaks her language or have her write everything then use Google translate it to present to the doctor.
Jr. Member
Nov 23, 2014
123 posts
335 upvotes
Richmond, BC
Why can't you translate?
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
21905 posts
20433 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
hahaty wrote: Why can't you translate?
Clearly cuz he doesn’t speak her native tongue :

We communicate in English, and only use very simple sentences and words.
Banned
Jun 4, 2020
1634 posts
1730 upvotes
Clarington, ON
Find a doctor that speaks the same language?
Jr. Member
Nov 23, 2014
123 posts
335 upvotes
Richmond, BC
PointsHubby wrote: Clearly cuz he doesn’t speak her native tongue :

We communicate in English, and only use very simple sentences and words.
Read the following sentence of what you just quoted. He "clearly" does speak her language.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 11, 2003
2723 posts
1284 upvotes
Toronto
PointsHubby wrote: Clearly cuz he doesn’t speak her native tongue :

We communicate in English, and only use very simple sentences and words.
But OP said the below. I assumed the OP can translate for her.
stevenleung0000 wrote: I don't mind seeing another doctor with her, and do the translation.
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Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
21905 posts
20433 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
We communicate in English, and only use very simple sentences and words.
hahaty wrote:
Read the following sentence of what you just quoted. He "clearly" does speak her language.
I don't mind seeing another doctor with her, and do the translation.
ds2chan wrote: But OP said the below. I assumed the OP can translate for her.
Or ... does he ?

But it will be close to impossible because she can hardly express her medical concerns in English.

Interesting

Cuz I took his quote at face value ...
Together they speak English with simple sentences & words

Otherwise ... why would she have to express her medical concerns in English ?

She’d use her native tongue ... and he’d understand it

Whereas in my scenario ...

The translation would be his knowing which words in English to use she would understand what the Dr is saying

Much like a parent knows how to communicate with a not fully verbal 1, 2, or 3 year old child
You live around them, you understand what they comprehend
As well as what they are trying to say
Although outsiders may not

Not that his GF is a child ...
Just that her English skills are currently child like
Deal Fanatic
Dec 12, 2009
5337 posts
2833 upvotes
Toronto
stevenleung0000 wrote: We communicate in English, and only use very simple sentences and words. I don't mind seeing another doctor with her, and do the translation. But it will be close to impossible because she can hardly express her medical concerns in English.

What are my options here...? Thanks in advance...
I'm wondering if Telehealth Ontario might be able to help.
https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-medical ... th-ontario

They can speak to her directly & give advice then possibly translate a summary for you to present to the doctor.
Deal Addict
Dec 29, 2012
2386 posts
697 upvotes
GTA
OP has found family doctors who can speak her language - but not on a walk-in basis. Some family doctors will see someone without a health card - if you pay for their services. This is what OP says "I have contacted many doctors that can speak her language, but all of them are either family doctors that do not see walk-in patient, or work in a public health/hospital that are not available to book."

Is the issue the lack of a health card?
Deal Addict
May 1, 2003
1908 posts
84 upvotes
Toronto
If you're near a big international university call their health centre. They're usually used to dealing with international students and know how to bill directly/insurance and speak multiple languages. You're not in Toronto but there's lots of community centres that help immigrants both legal and illegal with health concerns. You're going to have to be more specific and or sit down with her and go over things with google translate. It actually works quite well in a pinch.
Deal Fanatic
Oct 27, 2009
5287 posts
7596 upvotes
Ontario
It'd be more likely to find a viable solution in Toronto area (many community organizations that might know of clinics/places that could help with lanugage & some medical stuff without payment). But the issue is that anyone who does not have a health card is expected to have private health insurance to help cover medical costs or pay for medical services at time of getting them. The medical system is set up that way.

So if your girlfriend does not have any health coverage, she'll need someone willing to cover her medical visit costs plus any medicines or other related needs, if she is not able to pay them herself.

The university health centre-would it not be reliant on whether the person was a student at the school or not? Health coverage under student association is very basic and won't cover much.

211ontario.ca might be the resource to find language assistance for the girlfriend. The medical help-that is harder to solve for Kitchener area. You'd have a chance if you lived in Toronto as there are at least two places offering services to non-insured but the language of service is English.

CPSO.on.ca is the College of Physicians and Surgeons for Ontario. You can find doctors by language in Advanced Search. I highly doubt any medical service will be free if a doctor with the language that your girlfriend speaks is located.




You have the KW Multicultural centre for Interpreter Services. Don't know if a fee applies. https://kwmulticultural.ca/languages
https://www.ontario.ca/page/get-medical ... th-ontario
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Deal Fanatic
Oct 27, 2009
5287 posts
7596 upvotes
Ontario
I assume that you likely reached out to this organization which seems to be the place that would be best oriented towards your girlfriend's medical care/language needs. But look at the Billing page:
https://sanctuaryrefugee.ca/providers/i ... ing-tools/

Without getting into any immigration status questions related to your girlfriend, I then think of whether she has contacted her healthcare provider in her home country/region to see if she can get medical consultation over the phone?
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