Medical Interpreter

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More Than Spanish: Salinas Hospital Has Extensive Interpreter Program

By Lisa Morehouse

Dr. Minerva Perez-Lopez in the neonatal intensive care unit at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas. While Perez-Lopez speaks both English and Spanish, she needs interpreter services for her indigenous Mexican patients. (Photo: Lisa Morehouse)

Dr. Minerva Perez-Lopez in the neonatal intensive care unit at Natividad Medical Center in Salinas. While Perez-Lopez speaks both English and Spanish, she needs interpreter services for her indigenous Mexican patients. (Photo: Lisa Morehouse)

Angelica Isidro is only 4’9” tall, but she has a huge presence. I was almost exhausted by her energy as she took me on a tour of her Salinas Valley town of Greenfield. With about 15,000 residents Greenfield is surrounded by fields. On the edge of town, Isidro points to one that’s been prepared for lettuce crops. Across the street, there’s another for string beans and next to that, one for spinach.

Isidro has worked in the fields for twenty years. She says she and other farmworkers work 10 hour days at $8.50 or $9 an hour. She and her fellow farmworkers have specific health concerns.

“There are some dangers of working in the fields,” she says in Spanish through an interpreter. “People can get infections, like they might get fungus in their feet and also in their bodies. And also the pesticides. Sometimes we’ll be out in the fields and close by we’ll have the airplane that’s dusting the crops. That could potentially be dangerous.” Continue reading