Archive for November 2009

Bed and Breakfast in New Delhi. A Recommendation

17 November 2009

In the recent years of India’s economic boom, there has been an exponential increase in the numbers of businessmen and trade delegations travelling to India from overseas. One unfortunate result has been that hotel prices in the major cities have soared to stratospheric heights. In many people’s experience, the most expensive hotels are in Mumbai, especially in the Juhu Beach / Airport area (even 3-star ones). Consequently budget-conscious foreign tourists need to research the hotel market carefully to avoid a serious depletion of their funds when visiting the major cities of India.

For (non-business) Indian and foreign visitors to the capital, Delhi, a very welcome development, and an antidote to this severe budget problem has been the recent healthy increase in the number of small guesthouses, or B and B (bed and breakfast) establishments, run by modest Delhi entrepreneurs, usually at affordable prices. They are easily locatable on the Internet.

It was my good fortune to find one of the best of these establishments for a recent extended stay in the capital city: ‘On the House’, in the South Delhi middle-class, ultra-secure, gated community of Safdarjung Enclave.

In its seven rooms, ‘On the House’ offers not only tastefully decorated peaceful rooms but also 24 hour service by a staff of 3. Nothing is too much for them, from breakfast, which is free, to room service and dinner if required (vegetarian or non-veg.) – all at very modest prices (a cup of tea or coffee, for example, costs 50 cents.) Also available are cheap laundry services, a reliable taxi service to nearby shopping malls or to the centre of Delhi – at $10 for 4 HOURS, or short motor rickshaw rides for $1-$2 (for example to the nearby Hyatt Regency, for a splurge meal or to indulge in alcoholic beverages, especially wine, which is not easily obtainable). Other recommended local venues for taxi or rickshaw travel are Khan Market (with a money changer and an excellent bookshop), Ansal Plaza, Sarojini Market and, for Indian and Asian crafts at bargain prices, the extensive market at Dilli Haat.

At On the House, the level of personal service from Ashish and Roger is superb – and very friendly. No request fazes them, or the owner, Ms Aradhna Lanba, or ever-helpful Mr Nanda. Safe and well-priced excursions to Agra, hill stations like Mussoorie or Shimla, sacred Hindu sites like Rishikesh and Haridwar, or to Le Corbusier’s Chandigarh, can also be arranged with reliable travel agencies. If you have an extended stay in Delhi, Ms Lanba can even arrange Hindi lessons from professional teachers for you (but if you can afford this extra service, for the best results, consider learning some basic structures and vocabulary before going to India to make further linguistic progress).

The rooms, lounge and roof Gazebo of On the House are very tastefully decorated, giving an Indian and Asian environment. A further major advantage over those exorbitantly priced hotels is that you actually meet and converse with an interesting variety of fellow guests, Indian and foreign. A selection of books, DVDs, maps, and guidebooks is available to guests.

For the traveller, this is a very pleasant home from home, an oasis from the noise and dust and insecurity of the teeming streets of Delhi. The guestbook gives evidence that many visitors return to ‘On the House’ – or reside there for prolonged periods if working for a foreign company in Delhi. Advanced booking is therefore very necessary, and if you can afford the small extra charge, try to book the beautiful Gulmohar room or the Oak or Mulberry rooms. Details HERE.

Mistranslation and Misinterpretation, 12. Medical-legal Consequences

4 November 2009

In English-speaking countries like USA, Canada and Australia, where there is a long tradition of immigration from non-English-speaking countries, the existence of large numbers of immigrants from many countries has led to the setting up of extensive and expensive interpreting and translating services to assist them in their new country. Anecdotal evidence that the systems are subject to great pressure and do not always work well, as well as of the potentially serious consequences of not using interpreters in medical situations involving non-English-speaking citizens, is contained in excerpts from the following reports.

“Unfortunately, cases in which language barriers cause compromised quality of care and preventable medical errors may become increasingly common in the United States. Almost 50 million Americans speak a primary language other than English at home, and 22.3 million have limited English proficiency (LEP), defined as a self-rated English-speaking ability of less than “very well.” The last decade witnessed a 47% increase in the number of Americans speaking a non-English language at home and a 53% increase in the number of LEP Americans.”

“High-profile cases are accumulating of medical errors due to language barriers. Lack of an interpreter for a 3-year-old girl presenting to the emergency department with abdominal pain resulted in several hours’ delay in diagnosing appendicitis, which later perforated, resulting in peritonitis, a 30-day hospitalization, and two wound site infections. A resident’s misinterpretation of two Spanish words (se pegó misinterpreted as “a girl was hit by someone else” instead of “the girl hit herself” when she fell off her tricycle) resulted in a 2-year-old girl with a clavicular fracture and her sibling mistakenly being placed in child protective custody for suspected abuse for 48 hours.
Misinterpretation of a single Spanish word (intoxicado misinterpreted in this case to mean “intoxicated” instead of its intended meaning of “feeling sick to the stomach”) led to a $71 million dollar malpractice settlement associated with a potentially preventable case of quadriplegia.(15)”
(From Note: It is necessary to register with as a health practitioner or as “Consumer/Other” before accessing their professional articles.)

The brief mention of that latter case offers an example of the dangers of not using a qualified interpreter in medical situations. It also gives an insight into the idiosyncrasies of the American system of litigation. Further details are available here.

“Providing adequate translation is also a safety issue and a potential liability issue, Flores said, noting a successful $71 million Florida lawsuit in the case of a teenager who was left a quadriplegic.
“He was an 18-year-old who went to a sporting event at his high school, wasn’t feeling well and walked over to his girlfriend’s house. Just before he collapsed he said, ‘Me siento intoxicado.’ The paramedics came along, and the girlfriend didn’t speak a lot of English, and the mother of the girlfriend didn’t, either. They mentioned that word, and the paramedics said, “Oh, yeah, intoxicado, that means intoxicated. So they took him to the emergency room.
“He ended up going to the intensive-care unit because he had gone into a coma, and for 48 hours they were working him up for drug abuse. Then they finally did a CT scan, and it turned out he had actually had a brain aneurysm and that it burst, and he got a huge intracranial bleed,” Flores said.
Intoxicado, in fact, can mean nausea.
“That is one example of why, if you spent $30 for an interpreter, you wouldn’t have had to spend $71 million to settle a lawsuit,” he said.”