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September 6, 1995

Language Barriers in Medicine

Author Affiliations

Riverside, Calif

JAMA. 1995;274(9):684. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530090013010

To the Editor.  —I read with great interest the article by Dr Woloshin and colleagues.1However, I believe it should be the patient's responsibility to have an interpreter accompany him or her to each physician visit. Instruction could be written in English, and a copy could be kept in the patient's chart.In my practice in Riverside, Calif, I have patients who speak Spanish, Vietnamese, and Chinese. I cannot afford to hire interpreters for these languages.One alternative physicians have is to deny non—English-speaking patients care. I do not believe that is a reasonable alternative, but I do not feel that the physician should supply the interpreter.

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