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Illustration of doctor examining female patients back. Child watching, functioning as translator between doctor and mother.

Internal medicine

It is Wednesday and Sarah is observing a consultation Dr Uwe Ziegler has with a 40-year old African female patient.

The woman clearly looks unwell and seems to be in pain, but because she does not speak German or English, Dr Ziegler is forced to attempt to get information on what’s bothering her from her 7 year old son who accompanies her. He speaks some German, but the level of detail and accuracy in description of symptoms the child is able to convey, is very limited. Sarah also gets a strong feeling that the mother seems to be very uncomfortable with the fact that she has to communicate through the child. She thinks: “How can one take any useful medical history like that? This must be so frustrating for everyone, the doctor, the patient and the child!”

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Medical Peace Work

University of Bergen

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