KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It's scary enough as a
parent if your child has to be hospitalized, but imagine not
being able to understand the doctors and nurses because you speak a different
time, patients' families at East Tennessee Children's Hospital who can't communicate in English speak Spanish.
hospital's social work department provides interpreters around the clock to
make sure families feel as comfortable as possible.
6 News visited the hospital as baby Mario Masa recovered from
His family has formed a bond with
certified medical interpreter Jorge Escalona, who's on staff to make sure families
like the Masa's, who don't speak English, understand what their child is going
"The parents are very apprehensive about the
fear of the unknown," Escalona said.
He guides families through
the entire process of their child's medical stay.
Tylenol and ibuprofen that seem very simple to us, it's really very difficult
for them," he said.
Mario Masa, Sr. said the
service has been a godsend.
"It's very helpful, very important, because through us they can understand
everything, what's going on with their child," Escalona said, translating for Masa, Sr.
Because Escalona is so busy
translating important medical information to patients' families, the role of
Spanish speaking volunteers has grown.
It's a good fit for recent University of Tennessee
graduate David Rengifo, who was born in Colombia.
"I'm extremely blessed
and extremely lucky to be placed in this situation," Rengifo said.
His goal is to be a doctor
And while he cannot do what Escalona does yet, he does have an
important role in making sure families like the Masas are as
comfortable as possible, by providing coloring books and
other goodies for little Mario's sisters, a toy for the baby and a blanket
for mom, spending time with the family, and making the whole hospital
experience just a little less scary.
Children's Hospital can also
arrange for interpreters for languages other than Spanish through a 24 hour
phone service available in more than 200 languages and dialects.
Children's Hospital also arranges
for interpretation services for patient families who are hearing impaired at the main hospital as well as
its rehabilitation center out west and its hospital home health care.
more information, visit Children Hospital's website or call the Social Work Department at 865-541-8457