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Multilingual Manual for Medical History-Taking.

R. M.G.
Arch Surg. 1973;107(2):351-352. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1973.01350200211050.
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This compact and useful book contains 100 excellent questions in French, Spanish, German, Italian, Polish, and Russian to aid the physician in obtaining a history from a non-English-speaking patient. Most of the questions are designed to elicit a one-word response ("Does the pain radiate?") or finger pointing ("Where to?"). However, some responses will necessarily be more involved ("Are you allergic to anything? What?"). Here the physician would be stymied not so much by having to pose the question, but by having to understand the answer.

One would hope that in certain circumstances some effort would be made to find an interpreter, particularly if question 99 must be asked:

In order to know more about the cause of death of (a) your husband, (b) your wife, (c) your father, (d) your mother, (e) your son, (f) your daughter, (g) your sister, (h) your brother, it is necessary to perform an autopsy.


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The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
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