Spanish Medical Terms for EMS Personnel
Paramedics, Emergency Medical Technicians, Fire and other EMS personnel can benefit from learning some spanish medical terms because it’s not always possible to find an interpreter. Due to the nature of the job, an EMT or Paramedic on scene usually can not wait around for an interpreter like staff in a hospital can.
The EMS personnel often arrives at a patient’s home or other scene and will need to quickly establish communication with a patient who speaks minimal english.
Spanish is the second most spoken language in the United States, English is #1, so EMT’s in certain cities will frequently interact with spanish speaking patients. When communication is difficult between the emergency medical responder and patient it’s good to remember to always treat the patient with respect.
It may not be possible to understand each other, but tone of voice and non verbal language can communicate a lot. Keep a calm assertive voice and use family members who speak english when possible.
Keep in mind there are often many different ways to say the same thing in both English and Spanish. For example, to ask someone “Do you speak english?” you can say:
¿Tu hablas Inglés?
¿Habla usted Inglés?
¿Hablas Inglés? (Informal)
¿Habla Inglés? (Formal)
If you already know Spanish medical terms and they appear differently here, don’t worry there are probably multiple ways to say the same thing.
Here are some spanish medical terms that emergency medical workers can use in the field:
Mi nombre es _____.
My name is _____.
¿En dónde está la persona herida?
Where is the injured person?
Yo solamente hablo un poco de Español.
I only speak a little spanish.
Spanish Medical Terms: Assessment
¿Tiene alguna alergia?
Do you have any allergies?
¿Es alérgico a algún medicamento?
Are you allergic to any medications?
¿Toma algún medicamento?
Are you taking medication?
¿Cual es su nombre?
What is your name?
¿Cuantos años tiene usted?
How old are you?
¿Que dia es?
What day is it?
¿Que año es?
What year is it?
¿Qúe le pasó?
Are you pregnant?
Spanish Medical Terms: PAIN
Are you hurt?
¿Dónde le duele?
Where does it hurt?
Indíqueme dónde le duele.
Show me where it hurts.
¿Cuánto le duele en una escala de cero a diez?
How much does it hurt on a scale of zero to ten?
¿Qué tipo de dolor es?
What kind of pain is it? (See answers below)
Possible Pain Answers:
Va y Viene – Comes and goes
Constante – Constant
Ardiente – Burning
Punzante – Throbbing
Irradiado – Radiating
Con presión – Pressure
Agudo – Sharp
Sordo – Dull
¿Qué lo hace mejor (better) o peor (worse).
What makes it better or worse?
¿Hace cuánto que tiene este dolor?
How long have you had this pain for?
Spanish Medical Terms: COMMANDS
No se mueva, por favor.
Don’t move, please.
Apriete mi mano.
Squeeze my hand.
Abra la boca.
Open your mouth.
Déjeme registrarle el pulso.
Let me take your pulse.
Déjeme tomarle la temperatura, la presión.
Let me take your temperature, your blood pressure.
Levante los brazos.
Raise your arms.
Voy a colocarle un catéter intravenoso. Va a sentir un pinchazo.
I’m going to place an I.V.. You’re going to feel a pinch.
Voy a presionar aquí para detener el sangrado.
I’m going to press here to stop the bleeding.
Voy a poner esta mascarilla de oxígeno en tu cara.
I’m going to put this oxygen mask on your face.
Spanish Medical Terms: What Happened?
¿Qué le pasó?
What happened to you?
¿Tuvo un accidente?
Did you have an accident?
¿Hay alguien más en el vehículo?
Is there anyone else in the vehicle?
¿Estabas sentado en la parte delantera o trasera del vehículo?
Were you sitting in the front or the back of the vehicle?
¿Perdió el conocimiento?
Did you lose consciousness?
¿Cuánto tiempo estuvo inconsciente?
How long were you unconscious?
¿perdió la conciencia?
Did he/she lose consciousness?
Did you fall?
¿Dónde se cayó?
Where did you fall?
¿Desde cuánto se cayó?
From how high did he/she fall?
Necesitamos llevarle al hospital.
We need to take you to the hospital.
¿Quieres ir al hospital?
Do you want to go to the hospital?
Paramedics, EMT’s, and other EMS personnel should use a trained medical interpreter whenever available or required by law.
These Spanish medical terms for EMS are a tool for health care providers looking to improve communication with Spanish speaking patients in the field. There are many courses and books available to continue learning to speak Spanish better. If you prefer a low cost resource with basic Spanish medical terms and phrases to help communicate with patients in the field, I recommend picking up this pamphlet or something similar.
With that being said, I believe EMS employees who are self motivated to learn better communication with their patients should be applauded. An EMT, Nurse, Paramedic, Firefighter, etc. who is spending their free time learning to improve patient care is probably very good at their job. As a past EMT-B and a current Registered Nurse myself, I know how valuable your time is.
I want to congratulate anyone reading this who is working in the healthcare field, or planning on working in healthcare, on your accomplishments and dedication.
For more topics about medical terminology check out:
Christina Beutler is the creator of EMT Training Base. She is a former EMT and a current Registered Nurse. Christina’s path changed after taking a Basic First Aid class while in Community College, and a career in healthcare opened up. Working as an Emergency Medical Technician led to a passion for nursing and a job working in the Intensive Care Unit and Critical Care Unit right out of Nursing School. To learn more about Christina’s story, head over to the About page.