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With medical Spanish lessons, future clinicians can ask, "¿Cómo está?"

During a hospital preceptorship his first year at Weill Cornell Medical College, Patrick DeGregorio '18 got a glimmer of how a language barrier can impede a doctor's work. After a Spanish speaker, patched in by telephone, helped an attending communicate during an exam, the patient thanked the interpreter -- but not the doctor. For DeGregorio, that small moment underscored the distance that the inability to speak directly can create between patient and physician, and he found the implications worrisome. "It might preclude you from asking the question you need to ask," he says, "and getting a candid answer from your patient about their history."

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