Manjarres bridges cultural gap at Greer Memorial

By Jim Fair, Editor
Published on Monday, February 27, 2012

Hispanics visiting Greer Memorial Hospital's emergency room in the past, not only had to be concerned with getting quick, accurate care but communicate in English.

Rodney Manjarres is among a core of employees Greer Memorial and the Greenville Hospital System has hired to interpret for Hispanics visiting the emergency room for treatment of routine family health issues through trauma cases.

GHS held its second campus Hispanic Health Clinic, the first was in Simpsonville, on Saturday at Greer City Hall. The program, conducted exclusively in spanish featured speakers from its community outreach, interpreter language services, diabetes and pregnancy evaluations.

Community outreach programs from Greer Relief, Greer Community Ministries, Safe Kids and other  agencies were on hand to present materials written in Spanish with contact information for visitors. Magnets with emergency numbers were provided. There were 400 flu vaccinations available for free.

Manjarres, bilingual in English and Spanish, meets Hispanics in the emergency room and provide communications with the attending physicians and help complete the documentation required.

"I must be accurate in describing to the physicians the pain or symptoms that are bothering the patients," Manjarres said. "Children may be pointing to their side and expressing how much it hurts.  I must mimic to the physicians while communicating exactly what they are saying."

Most importantly Manjarres is the only contact between families and doctors in trauma incidents.

Manjarres will follow patients throughout the care process. He will accompany families in the waiting room until the treatment is completed to interpret the next steps. Additional hospitalization, outpatient care or pharmacy needs will be discussed.

"I am very careful to tell the patients or families exactly what the doctors are saying. When they are using medical terminology that is hard to understand, I ask them to bring it down a layer that we can understand," Manjarres said.

The purpose of Saturday's health clinic was also to disseminate literature in Spanish to educate Hispanics on healthcare opportunities. Hospitals have become more aggressive  in providing bilingual documents and healthcare information on its signage and in treatment rooms or clinics. Some representatives Saturday suggested that in-room bilingual reading materials be available while patients are in the hospital.

Wilfredo Leon is owner of Latino, a Hispanic newspaper in the Upstate. He said his paper serves the 9,000 Hispanics living in the greater Greenville area. Leon said he and other vendors and service executives were surprised at the small turnout. "I counted about 40 people here but we believe there are some cultural reasons for this," Leon said.

"Meeting at City Hall could be intimidating to Hispanics," Leon said. "I applaud this health summit. I believe if it was held in the middle of a Hispanic community, at a church for example, there would have been much greater turnout. Maybe that is something to think about."

Manjarres and Leon said the information available Saturday is valuable to the Hispanic community. "We need for the leaders here to take this information back to their communities and share it," Leon said.

Businesses mentioned in this article.

City of Greer, Greer Memorial Hospital


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