'I always try to put myself in my patient's shoes.' OC Hospital interpreter helps bridge gap for Spanish-speaking patients

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Wednesday, February 3, 2021
Hospital interpreter helps bridge communication gap for Spanish-speaking patients
Hospital interpreter helps to bridge the communication gap for Spanish-speaking patients, including many battling COVID-19.

MISSION VIEJO, Calif. (KABC) -- Marta Day's job is crucial to many COVID-19 patients at Mission Hospital in Mission Viejo. And these days, she's busier than ever. Day is a hospital interpreter who helps to bridge the communication gap for Spanish-speaking patients, including many battling COVID-19.

"I always try to put myself in my patient's shoes that don't speak English and I'm like gosh I just want to help them," said Day.

Marta is originally from Spain, where she became a sworn translator and interpreter in Spanish, Italian and English. She's the one full-time interpreter at Mission Hospital, but she's helped train about 45 other certified interpreters who work in other departments.

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"That's why I feel so passionate about helping people that come to the hospital and they don't understand or they don't speak English or maybe they speak a little bit of English, they're not gonna know medical terminology, even in their own language," said Day.

She works with all patients, but COVID patients have become the regular.

"Unfortunately there's a huge population of non-English speaking patients that are coming that have the virus, so, I'm working, I'm working hard," said Day.

Marta becomes even more vital when she needs to communicate with family members back at home that aren't allowed in the hospital.

"It's a sad situation. Just because, I always say it's not a good time to be sick and to be in the hospital these days because you feel very lonely and I feel so bad for all these patients that are like, they cannot see their family member, they cannot see their spouses," said Day.

There's also LanguageLine, an app medical workers can log into on a tablet or phone to access a live interpreter working remotely. But when it comes to major medical decisions, she knows her role is vital.

"It's better to have a person rather than just maybe video interpreters or something like that so that's why it's important that I'm here," said Day.

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