Interpreter Services

Interpreters at Rhode Island Hospital
Because illness and emergencies can be stressful, our interpreters take special pride in helping you feel comfortable and fully explain anything that is unclear. Our mission is to help you receive outstanding treatment so you may return to health.

We're Here to Help You Communicate

Our caring, highly skilled interpreters provide their services to over 5,000 patients each month. Rhode Island Hospital typically has one or two Spanish interpreters on duty at all times, as well as interpreters who speak Cambodian, Cape Verdean Creole, Portuguese and other languages.

Interpreter services are also available for those who are deaf or hard of hearing.

The hospital also has access to community services that offer in-person interpreters in many languages and telephone interpreter services in over 140 languages.

All patients have the right to use an interpreter at no cost.

Our Team

Our interpreter team represents 13 countries, speaks a total of four languages (Spanish, Portuguese, Cape Verdean, Cambodian) and boasts nearly 140 years of combined experience in assisting patients at the hospital.

Our specially trained interpreters offer expert knowledge of medical terminology as well as cultures, dialects, and expressions. We will help you communicate effectively with our physicians and emergency staff to ensure that you receive the best possible medical care.

Designated Bilingual Clinicians

Rhode Island Hospital now offers patients and families increased expedited access to qualified Spanish language interpreters. Several members of the hospital's clinical team have passed rigorous testing to become designated as bilingual clinicians. Qualified clinicians who pass a proficiency test are allowed to communicate with their patients on a one-to-one basis in Spanish.

See a list of designated bilingual clinicians at Rhode Island Hospital

Rhode Island Hospital's bilingual clinicians are:

  • Claudia Cartagena, MD (Emergency Medicine)
  • Richard Choi, MD (Neurology)
  • Ana Dickenson, RN (Endoscopy 9B)
  • Angela Ganan-Soto (Pediatric Endocrinology)
  • Frantz Gibbs, MD (Emergency Medicine)
  • Ramon Millan (Emergency Medicine)
  • Barbara Nickel, MD (Diagnostic Imaging)
  • Kimberly Pringle, MD (Emergency Medicine)
  • Paula Reisler, PA (COOP CLINIC)
  • Jose Rivera, MD (Ophthalmology Clinic)

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need an interpreter? I have someone with me who is bilingual.

Our highly skilled interpreters are specially trained in medical terminology and work closely with our doctors, nurses and staff as members of a team. Hospital regulations require the use of qualified interpreters in the delivery of health care. These procedures are in place to protect your rights.

Our trained interpreters ensure that critical medical information is conveyed accurately and clearly. Our interpreters help explain medical concepts and understand cultural differences.

By providing specialized interpreter services, we help ensure you receive the best possible medical care.

Why must I wait so long to see a doctor?

Patients are seen according to how urgently medical care is needed. Rhode Island Hospital is the region's only Level I trauma center and therefore may become very busy with patients who need immediate attention.

Though the emergency room or other clinical areas may not seem busy, you may be asked to wait. If someone who arrives after you is seen first, it is because the patient needs medical help more urgently. Often, people can be more sick than they appear. Our medical triage staff is specially trained to determine the medical urgency of illnesses, injuries and symptoms.

If you must wait, please be assured that your care is not being delayed because of a language barrier. We are committed to the health and well being of all patients, regardless of language, ethnicity, or ability to pay. You have not been forgotten, and we will see you as soon as possible.

Televisions and magazines are available for you and your family members in our waiting room. Food and beverages are available at Au Bon Pain, the Rhode Island Hospital cafeteria, and the Dudley Street Café. Our interpreters, family assistants and security team can direct you to these locations.

Staff members and hospital volunteers often read to children or provide books, videos, toys, or arts and crafts projects to help keep them occupied.