* * Anonymous Doc: The value of a good screening questionnaire

Monday, January 30, 2012

The value of a good screening questionnaire

The nurse flagged me down just as I was going in to see one of my clinic patients. "Oh, doctor, you need to take a look at his depression screener. His score is off the charts."

"Really, this guy? I've seen him before, he didn't seem depressed."

"But look at his questionnaire!"

"Okay, I will definitely talk to him about it."


"Sir, I just wanted to talk to you about the questionnaire you filled out in the waiting room."

"The what?" he asks, through the translator phone.

I show him the piece of paper. "The questionnaire."

"Oh, oh, okay."

"Yes, you scored very high on this."

"Oh, good, yes."

"No, it's not good. It shows you're very depressed. In fact, you said you're a victim of domestic violence? Is someone hurting you at home?"

"No, no, of course not."

"But you checked the box."

"Oh, no, I'm sorry."

"And you said you have thoughts of hurting yourself?"

"No, no, I don't do that, no."

"But you checked that box too."

"I'm sorry, doctor, I could not understand the questions."

"But we gave you the Spanish version, right? Spanish is your language?"

"Yes, Spanish is my language. But I don't know how to read."

"Oh. Hmmm. Well, the boxes you checked somehow added up to very high score on the depression survey, so, interesting. Maybe I'll just ask you the questions out loud then?"

1 comment:

  1. remember embarazada does not equal embarrassed. could get your some funny looks and is also a great way to figure out who is screwing with you about only speaking spanish.