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You Can’t Cough This Up To Cultural Differences

, , , , | Healthy | November 7, 2019

I came into work today to hear my coworker, the office supervisor, in a high-volume discussion with a patient in another language. I don’t speak any other languages besides English, but I could tell the patient was agitated and my coworker was trying to neutralize it.

I let her handle that and helped other patients before my shift officially started. Later, she revealed the reason. Apparently, the patient was having an ultrasound with our chief sonographer. The patient was coughing on the sonographer, so they asked the patient to cover their mouth. The patient got offended by that and left the room in the middle of the scan. The patient commented things such as, “She shouldn’t be in the industry if she can’t take sick patients.”

My coworker tells me that in their culture coughing is open. They aren’t told to cover their mouths.

All three– the patient, sonographer, and coworker — are the same nationality.

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