Si, doctora

UMMS Affiliation

Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

Publication Date


Document Type



*Communication; *Comprehension; *Hispanic Americans; Humans; *Physician-Patient Relations


Life Sciences | Medicine and Health Sciences


Experience with seeing Latino patients at a community health center has taught a family physician that the patient's response, "Si, doctora [Yes, doctor]" can have multiple meanings. Patients might say "yes" during consultations to avoid conflict or to defer to the more powerful doctor. The clinician's understanding had to move to deeper levels when a visiting Ecuadorian friend learning English used "yes" multiple times in conversation, but not as an indicator of agreement or even comprehension. The family doctor realized that she could not assume what the patient implies by this simple expression. The apparent agreement of "yes" requires more. When a patient says, "Si, doctora," the doctor must probe with more questions and listen hard to the answers.

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Citation: Ann Fam Med. 2006 Sep-Oct;4(5):460-2. Link to article on publisher's site

DOI of Published Version


Related Resources

Link to article in PubMed

Journal/Book/Conference Title

Annals of family medicine

PubMed ID