First-aid guide in 28 languages

«Are you in pain?» «When did the pain start?» «Are you allergic to any drugs?» «I have to give you an X-ray.» These are simple questions and statements that doctors use every day in emergency cases. But what happens when the patient doesn’t understand Greek and no interpreter is at hand? In order to avoid confusion, especially during the Olympic Games, when large numbers of foreign visitors will be in Greece, a medical equipment firm has published a multilingual first-aid guide which it has given to Athens 2004 for use in health units. The guide contains 43 key phrases in 28 languages, including Bengali, Swahili and Farsi, so as to facilitate communication between doctors and patients. Doctors will use the guide to show patients who do not speak Greek the questions they wish to ask and which tests the patients need. The guide is no substitute for a trained interpreter as it does not allow the patient to ask questions or express concerns. As such, it is not indicated for long-term treatment.