In the setting that I work in, it is seldom that my patients and I speak the same language. This seems a bit strange when I sit and think about it, but I have become so used to it that it feels completely normal now. This hurdle can usually be easily overcome with the use of an interpreter, but even then there can still sometimes be a language barrier (problems usually arise due to differences in pronunciation). Where I work, interpreters take the patients' presenting complaints before they are seen by a doctor. And I have seen some strange interpretations of presenting complaints!
Here are just a few examples and my proposed management plans:
If a patient has had a "missed courage" (miscarriage) is it okay for me to tell her the story of the little engine who could?
If someone is "feeling noiseous" (feeling nauseous) should I advise them not to be a disruptive element?
If a patient is having "pain when pussing urine" (pain when passing urine) do I really have to do dipstix or an MCS? Isn't the pus evidence enough?
If a man has "haemorrhoids on the penis" (I don't know how they came up with that one!) does that mean he's homosexual?
And if you have to have a cough, isn't it better if you're "coughing a beat"? (coughing a bit). I, for one, would love to hear that!
Lastly, I once had a complaint that read ""shortage of blood while preeking". (What?) I have no idea! Nobody could figure this one out. Even the patient was shocked to find out she'd been preeking.