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December 10, 1973

A Soliloquy and An Appeal

JAMA. 1973;226(11):1350. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03230110042010

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I am an American, that is to say I am privileged to be a citizen, though I am not of the continent itself. In truth, I am Puerto Rican and not so well accepted by some of the people in the United States. Yet I was educated as a physician in Spain and am now in my second year of training (education, they call it) at a community hospital in a major US city. Education, un poco, training, ah, si!

When I came to this country from Madrid, I had passed the ECFMG examination including, of course, the English test. Nevertheless, when I began my internship, I soon learned about what is called "the language barrier." My patients, especially the black ones, had trouble understanding my questions, and many times they used words that I could not find in my Spanish-English dictionary. Certainly, their ways of expressing themselves were unlike