An excerpt from an article on Language Access and the Prevention of Medical Errors by Louis F. Provenzano, “Statistics show that language is a major factor in cases of misdiagnosis and instances of poor treatment at hospitals, and delays in service or access to preventive care. Medical error in general is a troubling issue, but patients with limited English proficiency are almost twice as likely to suffer adverse events in U.S. hospitals, resulting in temporary harm or death, according to a pilot study by The Joint Commission - an independent, not-for-profit organization that evaluates and accredits more than 15,000 health care organizations and programs in the United States.
The fact is, the medical system is failing those who have limited English skills - and there are many people who fall into this category. According to census data, over 47 million people in the U.S. speak a language other than English at home, and nearly 23 million are considered limited English proficient (LEP). Overall, more than 176 different languages and dialects are spoken across the country.”