Barbara M. Young, MD, CM
Requests for Single Reprints: Barbara M. Young, MD, CM, Montreal General Hospital, Division of General Internal Medicine, Room B2-118, 1650 Cedar Avenue, Montreal, Quebec H3G 1A4, Canada.
Young BM. Lost in More Than Just Translation. Ann Intern Med. 2011;154:502. doi: 10.7326/0003-4819-154-7-201104050-00010
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 2011;154(7):502.
Having recently attended an excellent lecture on the evaluation of dementia, I was eager to test out my refreshed and updated skills on my next patient. “Failing to thrive. Patient difficult to evaluate,” the consult said. “Please rule out dementia.” Internet access is always very slow in Kuujjuaq, but, using the computer in the head nurse's office, I finally succeeded in downloading the cognitive assessment tool that had been suggested by the lecturer. I then retreated back to the little room designated for visiting specialists and sat down to read the patient's chart.
I'd flown up to the subarctic community of Kuujjuaq the day before the evaluation to start a week-long general internal medicine outreach clinic serving the predominately Inuit population. Kuujjuaq is a town of 2055 people on Ungava Bay in the northernmost region of Quebec. It can be reached by boat in the summer or by a 2.5-hour plane ride north from Montreal during the year. My patient had also traveled for our meeting. Paulusie, a 72-year-old Inuit elder from the tiny village of Quaqtaq on the Hudson Strait, had taken a 1.5-hour flight on a Twin Otter that morning to see me. He was a small man with a tanned, weather-worn face. His dark and dusty work pants were held up by suspenders, and he wore a cap emblazoned with the name of his village. Paulusie greeted me enthusiastically with a few pleasantries in English, but Mary, the Inuktitut interpreter, told me quietly that she didn't think his Qallunaatitut (“English”) was strong enough for a medical interview.
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Print ISSN: 0003-4819 | Online ISSN: 1539-3704
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