How would you have handled it?

  1. Had a 16-year-old immigrant come in tonight, brought by her husband, complaining of weakness and vomiting, feeling faint off and on for a couple of weeks. LMP in January. First question was "Are you pregnant?" Answer: "I don't think so." Put her in a room, ran an HCG that turned out to be positive (surprise!). Doc and interpreter went in to tell her. Outcome was a bit unexpected for us. The hubby's face froze and the girl got scared. Turned out hubby had just gotten back from a several-month stay in Mexico. Whoops. Dilemma: the patient herself is Oaxacan, spoke very little Spanish. Most of our female Oaxacan patients are brought by their Spanish-speaking husbands or boyfriends and they act as our interpreters. (Language line does not help with this language.) I can't help feeling that we may have contributed to a problem that was already bad......yes or no?
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   gwenith
    HMMMM - you were not to know. Bottom line - these things happen. It was a little inevitable that the husband found out sometime.
  4. by   RNonsense
    Ouch...
    Hope she will be ok. 16 years old!
  5. by   AngelGirl
    Ooops!!!!

    You probably felt awful, but the truth is, it's really not your problem. There are things that we just can't fix. And there are often many more details that are yet to surface.

    For all we know, the husband may have been the promiscuous one his in his travels, and the wife may have been molested in his absence. We just don't know.

    He married a child and then left her unattended for what sounds like quite some time. Seems as though he's got some marital repairs to make. I hope for the best. :kiss
  6. by   frannybee
    Sticky situation, Tazzi. If you didn't know the problem existed, you had no way of avoiding exacerbating it. Hope you have some luck finding someone to interpret for them.
  7. by   BadBird
    You had no way of knowing that the husband was away for months, it seem unavoidable.
  8. by   NurseGirlKaren
    We have to ask our non-english speaking patients if they consent to have the family member act as translator. Of course we don't know what the translator is saying to them in their native tongue or what they answer. Kind of a catch 22. Especially if the language line doesn't translate Oaxaca.

    What can you do?
  9. by   Rapheal
    Oh this is so sad. Just 16 years old. Well, what else could you have done? I can't think of anything. Like Angelgirl says, let's hope for the best.
  10. by   Cindy_A
    I think you did the right thing. After all, how could you have known the husband had been away for months? Like they've said, hope for the best!
    BTW, what is Oaxacan? Is it a different Mexican culture? Is it a language (the girl spoke little Spanish)? Thanks!
  11. by   Chiaramonte
    So many things are beyond our control aren't they?? Hopefully she has her own family members who will help her through what seems to be a sticky situation.
  12. by   TazziRN
    Oaxaca is a state in Mexico, very poor, with its own language. It sounds very little like Spanish. When I first heard it the inflections reminded me a little of the different Chinese or Vietnamese dialects. Oaxacans are actually the "original" Mexicans, like Mayans. There are actually classes locally for the Oaxacans to learn Spanish around here because we have such a high concentration of them. We also have a large number of illegal immigrants; it's not unusual to have 14-, 15-, and 16-year-olds in this country on their own, with their own children.

    Thanks to all for the input; I was really worried that we had somehow violated her confidentiality.
  13. by   Cindy_A
    Thnks Tazzi, I'd never heard of Oaxaca before!

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