Amy DeAnda in L&D was assigned as the TPCN of a mainly Spanish speaking patient. The patient and her husband spoke very little English. Not being aware that a qualified interpreter was already scheduled to assist her communicate with her patient, she contacted the interpreter services office and requested an interpreter to help her.
Amy knew her patient was going to experience one of the most devastating events for any parent. Due to congenital anomalies, their son was expected to die shortly after being born, and Amy didn't feel it was appropriate to use an impersonal over the phone interpreter to talk to her patient throughout the labor induction process and delivery time. When the interpreter arrived she stated, "I know we have phones, but this is not the type of encounter you want to do over the phone, or with a non-qualified interpreter. I am so excited to know that a professional interpreter is going to be available at all the critical times of the patient's stay."
Amy went beyond the usual use of an interpreter for consents or "clinical information" only. She was actively taking care of her pregnant patient's needs, and the dad's needs too, engaging with them in conversation. Then mom shared with Amy the emotional roller-coaster she has been on during the last 5 months. Recently moved to Hobbs, New Mexico from Denver, Colorado she became pregnant. Her Medicaid was not yet authorized so they went to Mexico for a prenatal care visit.
"Without all the technology available, they just told me that there was something wrong with my pregnancy, that it was best to have it checked in Hobbs. I went to the Hobbs hospital and they told me in broken Spanish that my baby "was okay" which I understood to be "your baby is healthy," but we needed to come to Lubbock that a better hospital was needed. I was full of hope, I thought the Mexican doctor was wrong. I came to Lubbock and was told my baby is not going to live, I just cried for weeks when I was by myself."
At the L&D unit, Mom and Dad expressed that they didn't want the NICU staff to be present at the delivery time nor did they want to have the baby by her side. Realizing that the language barrier may have prevented them to understand the difficult times to come, Amy asked if they wanted to talk with the NICU team, and have all their questions and fears discussed with the interpreter's assistance. The parents agreed and Amy requested a NICU consultation. The Mom that initially said she didn't want to have the baby with her after the delivery, changed her mind, saying, "I didn't want to have him close because I thought he was going to be struggling to stay alive, but now I understand. Please bring the baby to me as soon as possible."
At the end of the day, the baby's outcome did not change, but a young couple had the opportunity to spend quality time, have pictures taken, have their baby baptized, tears intertwined with smiles for the short life of a beloved son, with no barriers.
Thank you Amy for making this happen.