Language and Cultural Barriers in the Emergency Room Term Paper by Nicky

Language and Cultural Barriers in the Emergency Room
An examination of how hospitals have addressed language and cultural barriers in their emergency rooms.
# 148897 | 892 words | 10 sources | MLA | 2011 | US

$19.95 Buy and instantly download this paper now


The paper discusses the tragedy that occurred in California at the Merced Community Medical Center when the lack of language and cultural understanding between the medical staff and refugee parents led to a medical travesty. The paper explores whether hospitals have improved language barriers in their emergency departments in the last twelve years. Based on several studies, the paper reaches the conclusion that emergency departments continue to have a major problem addressing the issue of language and cultural barriers.

From the Paper:

"The United States continues to become more diverse in its population. About one-third of the population of the United States -- 34 percent -- claims "minority" racial or ethnic heritage, a jump of 11 percent from 2000. In May, 2009, the U.S. Census Bureau reported that the 2008 minority population reached approximately 105 million, or 34 percent of the nation's total population. This compares to 31 percent in 2000. If present trends continue, the U.S. population will grow from 296 million in 2005 to 438 million in 2050, and 82 percent of this increase will be the result of immigrants coming into the country and their American-born descendents, according to a Pew Research Center study. Of the 117 million people added to the population during this period, 67 million will actually be the immigrants and 50 million will be their children or grandchildren. Given these cultural changes in the U.S. population, how are emergency departments responding to the need of communicating with the diverse populations that seek medical help? Based on the studies noted here, language barriers continue to be a major problem in emergency departments.
"A study by Boschert reported that language barriers continue as "a major roadblock" to high-quality emergency care, according to the National Medical Association. A survey conducted in 2004 of 57 emergency departments reported that they "experience poor communication with non-English-speaking patients.""

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Baker, DW, RM Parker, MV Williams et al. "Use and effectiveness of interpreters in an emergency department" Journal of the American Medical Association,275 (1996):783-8.
  • Bernstein, J., E. Bernstein E, A Dave et al. "Trained medical interpreters in the emergency department: effects on services, subsequent charges, and follow-up." Journal of Immigrant Health, 4 (2002):171-6.
  • Carrasquillo, O, EJ Orav, TA Brennan et al. "Impact of language barriers on patient satisfaction in an emergency department." Journal of General Intern Medicine, 14 (1999):82-7.
  • Fadima, Anne. The Spirit Catches You, and You Fall Down NewYork: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1997
  • Flores, Glenn, Sylvia Torres, Linda J Holmes, Debbie Salas-Lopez, et al. "Access to Hospital Interpreter Services for Limited English Proficient Patients in New Jersey: A Statewide Evaluation" Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, 19 (2008): 391-414

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Language and Cultural Barriers in the Emergency Room (2011, November 12) Retrieved February 06, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Language and Cultural Barriers in the Emergency Room" 12 November 2011. Web. 06 February. 2023. <>