High demand for Spanish-speaking bilingual clinic - 7News Boston WHDH-TV

High demand for Spanish-speaking bilingual clinic

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BOSTON (WHDH) - One challenge a lot of health professionals face is a language barrier but Boston Medical Center (BMC) is going above and beyond to serve its patients.

Recent studies suggest, for many Latino children and their parents, getting the proper healthcare can be a challenge and a big part of the problem is language.

"People who do not speak english tend to get diagnosed later, tend to have delays in the proper treatment and consequently prognosis may be not as good for some of these patients," said Chief of Pediatric Neurology at BMC Dr. Karl Kuban.

Kuban and Dr. Alcy Torres from the Department of Neurology at BMC have started the first bilingual clinic for pediatric neurology.

"Families do want to be able to speak to a physician in their own language so they understand issues better," Kuban said.

Spanish speaker Maria-Jose Garcia-Anguiano and her son agree.

"It was very important to be with with someone who was speaking my language, and that understood my culture," Garcia-Anguiano said.

A recent study found Latino children are diagnosed with autism on average 2-and-a-half years later than white children.

"If you consider that the first three years of life are so crucial for the development of the brain of children you can understand how bad it is to miss the diagnosis for so long," said Torres.

The clinics include treatment for everything from autism to learning delays to concussions. They opened less than a year ago in Boston, East Boston, Fitchburg and North Andover and demand is high.

"The program has grown very fast, it is overbooked, it is already booking months ahead," Torres said.

He added that the clinics don't just want to offer their Spanish-speaking patients "adequate" care. Rather, what they're doing is trying to offer "excellent care" for everybody in the population.

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