Delayed ACL repair surgery in children of non-English speaking parents

ACL tears are painful and can lead to permanent disability if left untreated. Most surgeons agree that lacerations should be operated on within a month or two of the accident, which is often the case with young athletes. Longer delays can cause additional and permanent knee injuries.

Sports medicine expert Neeraj M. Patel and colleagues examined 543 young patients who had undergone ACL surgery at the Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago. The mean age of the patients was 16. There were both boys and girls.


Patients whose parents spoke a language other than English were twice as likely to need surgery more than 90 days after the accident. This disparity persisted even when the researchers looked at insurance status.

Advice for Orthopedic Surgery Department about Parental Counseling

The department of orthopedic surgery should provide equal care to children and adolescents whose parents speak a language other than English. Some of the tactics they recommend are:

1. Greater demand for bilingual healthcare workers
2. Arrangements to improve interpreter availability,
3. By making health information available in local dialects,
4. Partnering with medical practices, community groups, and educational organizations to raise awareness of ACL injuries, speed diagnosis and treatment, and
5. Educate healthcare workers on how to ensure that families are aware of treatment options for ACL injuries and actively participate in treatment options.

The authors conclude: “Organizations should promote a culture of care that is sensitive and prepared for the needs of those whose preferred language is not English. “This needs to involve investigating and interacting with such families to better define their specific barriers to care, the biases they face and the need for care. take care of their health.”

“Patel and his colleagues have done a great job defining the role of community partnerships and patient education in the discussion of their findings. Where we need to improve is identification. Specific barriers to care affect individuals of specific communities with shared life experiences,” says Kwadwo Adu Owusu-Akyaw, sports medicine specialist at OrthoVirginia in Richmond, VA .

Source: Medindia

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