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Ethical dilemmas in interpreting: case study 2
In the scenario, I am interpreting at a medical practice. The Service Provider (SP) is the GP practice and Service User (SU) is a patient. I arrive at the reception on time, the receptionist waves me in direction of the patient and then she answers a phone call. Then the patient is called into the consultation room. At the consultation room, I try to introduce myself and give my Code of Practice (CoP) to the doctor but he ignores me and asks what the problem with the patient is.
I reply to him that he can ask the patient himself and I will interpret for him. Then the doctor ask me to take the patient back to the waiting room so I can interview her, while he sees another patient, then he will call us back. The following things went wrong during my job assignment:
The receptionist behaves unprofessionally because she shouldn’t leave me alone with the patient because this could cause me being partial and unsuitable to do this assignment.
* The doctor ignores my introduction. The Code of Practice (section 5.24) says that Service Provider should “allow to interpreter to introduce him or herself”. Introduction is important because it allows me explain the rules and terms which I am going to follow during assignment.
The doctor should “address member of the public directly” (Code of Practice section 5.26). It is important that a service provider speaks directly to a service user, because it allows better communication and connection between, in this situation, patient and doctor, and SU doesn’t feel left out.
The doctor doesn’t want to interview the patient and ask me to leave the consultation room. The Code of Practice defines this problem as follows: “Conduct all of the interview yourself. It may be tempting to ask the interpreter to go off and have chat with your client, and then come back and tell you the relevant points, but the interpreter is not qualified to know what information to look for or how to process the information received.” (Code of Practice, section 5.29) I wasn’t sure what I should do as an interpreter to be in line with my Code of Practice. If I did what doctor asks, I wouldn’t be assertive and impartial (Code of Practice, section 2.4). If I refused to do what doctor insists, I would leave the patient without any help. I decide to explain to the doctor what my job description is and ask him one more time to interview the patient. If doctor still refuses to do interview I ask him if would be possible to assign the patient to different doctor or nurse. After I finished assignment, I would report the incident with the doctor to the agency if I work for one or report it to practice’s manager if I am be freelance interpreter.
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