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August 1973

Multilingual Manual for Medical History-Taking.

Author Affiliations

Brookline, Mass

Arch Surg. 1973;107(2):351-352. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1973.01350200211050

This article is only available in the PDF format. Download the PDF to view the article, as well as its associated figures and tables.


This compact and useful book contains 100 excellent questions in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Polish, and Russian to aid the physician in obtaining a history from a non-English-speaking patient. Most of the questions are designed to elicit a one-word response ("Does the pain radiate?") or finger pointing ("Where to?"). However, some responses will necessarily be more involved ("Are you allergic to anything? What?"). Here the physician would be stymied not so much by having to pose the question, but by having to understand the answer.

One would hope that in certain circumstances some effort would be made to find an interpreter, particularly if question 99 must be asked:

In order to know more about the cause of death of (a) your husband, (b) your wife, (c) your father, (d) your mother, (e) your son, (f) your daughter, (g) your sister, (h) your brother, it is necessary to perform an autopsy.

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