Fifth-grade bilingual students got the brushoff when they offered to help correct grammatical and spelling errors they spotted in a Denver General Hospital form written in Spanish.
"That's a school project, and we're not going to change things here because a fifth-grade class...thinks something is wrong," said Charles Jackson, DGH's senior patient advocate.
Students at Munroe Elementary School in Denver found misspelled words and problems with sentence structure on the form, which is issued to Spanish-speaking patients who need to make an appointment for medical care.
Among other things, the form uses the word cuidado-it means careful-instead of the word for "care," and ojos, oidos y gargantas, which means "eyes, sound and throat" instead of ojos, orejus y gargantas, or "eyes, ears and throat." It also misspelled hacer, which means "to make" as aser, and ciudad, which means "city," was written "cuidad."
In their letter to DGH, the students wrote: "We know that you probably aren't the one who translated this sheet, but please tell that person that it is poorly written and that they read our letter.
"He/she should be ashamed of him/herself for giving out these papers to people who speak Spanish. He/she should have written it as correctly in Spanish as in English....We are willing to help you with the Spanish language, if you like."
Carrie Olson, the students' teacher, said "For (an) institution funded by tax dollars to print something like that is pretty embarrassing."
Mr. Jackson said the form was reviewed by bilingual personnel at the hospital. "Our information was explained sufficiently to the Spanish-speaking patients who we serve here at Denver General," he said.