CommGap International Language Services


How Medical Interpreters Save You Millions

May 20th, 2019

Most people are aware of the astronomical (and sometimes devastating) costs of malpractice. Instances of malpractice are not only financially crippling, but devastating in terms of reputation and loss of life as well. In our ever globalizing world, the need for fast, accurate medical interpretation has increased exponentially over the last decade, and as a result the number of malpractice claims related to low-quality medical interpretation (or a complete lack thereof) have likewise increased.


One such case is the infamous “Intoxicado” malpractice lawsuit, in which 18 year old Willie Ramirez was treated for a drug overdose, when the real issue was a blood clot in his brain. The doctors misunderstood the word “intoxicado,” which in Cuban Spanish equivalates “sickness from something a person ate” (like food poisoning or an allergic reaction). The doctors wasted valuable time repeatedly running drug screens which repeatedly came out as clean, and as a result their patient was left quadriplegic, and they were hit with a million dollar lawsuit.

Sadly, cases like Willie’s are all too common, and can leave both the medical institution and the victim crippled physically and financially. Failing to provide a certified, qualified native-speaker of the patient’s language is not only a bad moral and financial decision, it’s also illegal in all 50 of the United States, with varying degrees of seriousness. In fact, on a federal level there are three laws requiring healthcare providers who accept federal funds to provide qualified medical interpreters when treating “Limited English”, deaf, and hard of hearing patients. These laws can become even more strict on the state level, and it’s crucial to know the laws in your state if you want to remain compliant.

Tragedies like Willie’s - in which both parties lose - can be avoided by inexpensive, well-trained, fully certified medical interpreters; the kinds of interpreters with which CommGap has been proudly contracting for many years. If among your institution’s goals are saving more money, and saving more lives, be sure you’re in compliance with laws requiring native-speaking medical interpreters by contacting CommGap at 866-944-4049 or emailing us at