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Speaking their language: Medical interpretation services create welcoming environment

DOWNERS GROVE – Going to the hospital can be an anxiety-inducing event. For patients who don’t understand English, the experience can be that much more unsettling. That’s why Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital relies on experienced medical interpreters to help patients communicate with their physicians, nurses and other care providers.

“I feel the patient’s relief as soon as I walk into the room and introduce myself,” said Alejandra Pedroza, a Spanish-speaking medical interpreter at the hospital. “I love helping patients feel more comfortable.”

Medical interpreters helped translate more than 4,200 encounters into more than 42 different languages at the hospital last year alone via live, telephonic, text and video interpreting services. In DuPage County, 27 percent of residents – nearly 100,000 people – speak a language other than English.

“Having a clear line of communication to patients to explain the complexity and subtleties of what we do is so important,” said Dr. Kevin Madsen, director of maternal-fetal medicine at Good Samaritan Hospital. “I applaud them. I can’t imagine practicing without their services.”

Click here to watch a video of the interpreters in action. Medical interpreting is just one of many specialized community services provided at Good Samaritan Hospital. It’s highlighted in Advocate Health Care’s 2012 Community Album, published online at

Other Good Samaritan Hospital services featured in the album include:


  • Why Wait Clinic: Provided physicals, screenings, digital mammograms and Pap smears for nearly 800 women in underserved communities who often delay medical treatment due to financial concerns. Clinicians also taught free health educational classes on the importance of self-breast exams and knowing your family medical history. The program’s longevity and continued success is made possible by hospital physicians, nurses, radiologists and technicians who volunteer their time and resources to ensure those most in need get the essential care they deserve. The clinic is a partnership between Good Samaritan Hospital and the DuPage County Health Department.
  • Access DuPage: Provides health care access to 16,000 uninsured DuPage County residents. In addition to clinicians volunteering their time and medical services, Good Samaritan Hospital contributed $763,000 to Access DuPage in 2012.
  • Big Boomin’ Heart Fair: Nearly 800 people received free heart health screenings at this hospital event, held annually in February. Cardiac nurses were on hand to provide personal one-on-one counseling about heart risk assessments and a special session taught attendees how to use an automated external defibrillator (AED), which can save the life of someone experiencing sudden cardiac arrest.

“Our involvement with these programs underscores our commitment to providing health outreach and community education to those who need it most,” said Laura Taylor, director of community health.

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