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Humiliating HIV Test Story
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aq8knyus



Joined: 28 Jul 2010
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:
Quote:
It was clear from the OP that the problem was not communication as the nurses eventually understood, albeit with great difficulty


Yes or no, did the OP possess any ability in Korean to express what he wanted?

Yes or no, did the OP attempt to communicate in the native language of the nurses?

Yes or no, did the OP ask for the correct test?

The answer to all of these is no, therefore clearly communication was at the core of things. If the OP has good ability to speak in Korean does this situation occur? If the OP asked for the general blood test (the correct test), rather than an AIDs test, does this occur?

Clearly the OP was getting a little agitated, is it possible that the nurses themselves were a little agitated as well? If they were, is it fair to solely blame them for the outcome?

The point isn't that the nurses were innocent, but rather they were not wholly guilty, nor is the OP a complete victim.

The reality is that the less ability you have to speak the native language of the country in which you are residing, the greater the chances for problems like this to occur, and one must be willing to accept their own responsibility and fault when these take place.

We're all foreign language teachers. Experience should prepare one for the fact that in such situations, voices tend to rise and speaking in low tones tends to not be good for understanding, and that a frequent reaction to the "Eureka!" of understanding someone is to say the word in a louder voice. There is a reason "Eureka!" always has an exclamation point.


Quote:
You would expect it to be used or at least understood in the most basic sense.


English here is to be appreciated, not expected.

Quote:
How many take Korean or Arabic in school in the west?


Fine, substitute French. A nice agitated Frenchman in your face getting upset with you that you don't speak French.


As for being stigmatized and making it about AIDs, the OP brought it upon himself. When I go in for my yearly physical, I treat it as a physical and I don't regard it as being stigmatized. The AIDs test is not the central focus when I go to the hospital. Heck, it's not even the central focus of the blood test. A simple change in mindset would have resulted in a completely different attempt to communicate what the OP was trying to get.


1) Any ablility? He was eventually understood, so yes, evidently he did possess some ability to communicate in Korean.

2) Type in 에이즈 into naver and you will see it is used quite regularly. Obviously not the best way of saying it in Korean, but perfectly acceptable. Seeing as the nurses eventually understood it obviously worked.

3) No, but he was understood.

I dont want to even begin to go down into the rabbit hole of your 'Eureka' reasoning.

I'll finish with a Yes or No question of my own. Is it wrong for medical professionals to shout out in a room full of other people that the person standing in front of you wants an AIDS test?
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mikesaidyes



Joined: 26 Apr 2011
Location: Sanbon, South Korea

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Not quite acceptable for a visa test, BUT I HIGHLY recommend KHAP. Anonymous and fast HIV testing. I went today actually to the Seoul facility in Gireum. They also have one in Ansan.

Completely free and anonymous! I even got a nice MAC branded memory stick and stickynote pad as a gift haha!
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nate1983



Joined: 30 Mar 2008

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 1:47 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:
Quote:
It was clear from the OP that the problem was not communication as the nurses eventually understood, albeit with great difficulty


Yes or no, did the OP possess any ability in Korean to express what he wanted?

Yes or no, did the OP attempt to communicate in the native language of the nurses?

Yes or no, did the OP ask for the correct test?

The answer to all of these is no, therefore clearly communication was at the core of things. If the OP has good ability to speak in Korean does this situation occur? If the OP asked for the general blood test (the correct test), rather than an AIDs test, does this occur?


I speak far, far better Korean than you do, and I don't see what the situation has to do with a linguistic barrier. Get off your high horse.
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
1) Any ablility? He was eventually understood, so yes, evidently he did possess some ability to communicate in Korean.

2) Type in 에이즈 into naver and you will see it is used quite regularly. Obviously not the best way of saying it in Korean, but perfectly acceptable. Seeing as the nurses eventually understood it obviously worked.

3) No, but he was understood.


1)Go back and read the story. No Korean was used. He tried writing 'HIV'

2)"Aidsuh" and "Testuh" are not communicating in the native language of the person. Good grief, we're teachers.

3)No, he wasn't understood. He was looking for the physical examination and blood test, not an AIDs test. Medically, the physical is far different from an AIDs test.

Are you seriously suggesting that there is no responsibility for this on his part? Is the OP that much of a helpless infant?

I'm fine with assigning some blame to the nurses, but the OP is in no way, shape, or form a complete victim. Sorry, but you can't wander about in a foreign country demanding services while speaking in English, expecting perfect understanding in English, and then complaining when after trying to communicate for 5 minutes someone blurts out an embarrassing English word, the very word you were trying to get them to understand.

And sorry, as for the whole "Nurses should understand English", that is soooo self-centered. Nurses should be concerned with studying nursing and providing care to the 99% of the population that can speak Korean, not rolling out the red carpet for NETs.

Quote:
I'll finish with a Yes or No question of my own. Is it wrong for medical professionals to shout out in a room full of other people that the person standing in front of you wants an AIDS test?


Let me put the question in its proper context, is it wrong, after spending 5-10 minutes trying to understand what the person is trying to say in English, that people who are no more fluent in English than the patient is in Korean and are living in Korea, blurt out the word that the patient is trying to get them to understand?

I'm not going to say it's okay, but I understand. And again, the OP is not without responsibility.

Instead of trying to get the nurses to understand English, maybe the OP should have taken some effort to try and understand Korean. Maybe the OP could have spent those 10 minutes looking at a dictionary or doing a Naver search for proper terms or calling his co-teacher on his cell phone.

Quote:
I speak far, far better Korean than you do, and I don't see what the situation has to do with a linguistic barrier.


You don't see how the OP's inability to ask for the proper test in Korean and going back and forth for 10 minutes resulted in the nurses blurting out AIDs when they finally understood what he was trying to say?

We've all had moments with Koreans where we try to understand each other. What is the natural reaction to that moment when you finally get it? You repeat the word or phrase in question, loudly, and in a tone that communicates understanding.

Quote:
Get off your high horse.


My advice to the OP and those that agree with his actions and stroll into places demanding service in English and then getting upset when things don't go well.
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hiamnotcool



Joined: 06 Feb 2012

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:


I'm fine with assigning some blame to the nurses, but the OP is in no way, shape, or form a complete victim. Sorry, but you can't wander about in a foreign country demanding services while speaking in English, expecting perfect understanding in English, and then complaining when after trying to communicate for 5 minutes someone blurts out an embarrassing English word, the very word you were trying to get them to understand.

And sorry, as for the whole "Nurses should understand English", that is soooo self-centered. Nurses should be concerned with studying nursing and providing care to the 99% of the population that can speak Korean, not rolling out the red carpet for NETs.



I don't see any excuse for making someone's personal information public as if they don't matter. It is unprofessional and stupid. Behavior like this will only encourage people to NOT get STD testing and that is a dangerous thing. I guess the OP is responsible for how long it took to convey the point, but OP is in no way responsible for how inconsiderate the nurses were with sensitive information.

And, the test is a requirement set by Korean immigration. Learning Korean is not a requirement set by immigration. Maybe it would make sense to accommodate the foreigners who are only doing what they have to do with some kind of system for the required health check. You know, make things faster? More efficient? Less humiliating and stigmatizing? Something like that.

I wish everyone in the friggin country had to get an annual STD test personally.
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thatkidpercy



Joined: 05 Sep 2010

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@steelrails: Your posts are very entertaining. I can't believe anyone would go to such lengths to defend an obviously unprofessional incident unless they were doing it to wind the other person up.

I'd be very angry if I was in the same situation as the OP. Arguing about whether he should have used Korean is besides the point - no nurse in their right mind should announce to a room full of other patients that somebody is there for a HIV test (or... well, anything for that matter). I'm sure this kind of thing happens from time to time in the West too, and I'd be just as angry at home - language barrier or not, it was unacceptable.

Quote:
We've all had moments with Koreans where we try to understand each other. What is the natural reaction to that moment when you finally get it? You repeat the word or phrase in question, loudly, and in a tone that communicates understanding.


I'd like to think most people would have the self-awareness to not shout something out loud if it's sensitive. I certainly wouldn't.

I hate the over-generalising "Why do Koreans always..." type threads too, but it's okay to admit that even Koreans make mistakes sometimes - go ahead and try, it won't hurt! Wink
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aq8knyus



Joined: 28 Jul 2010
Location: London

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

@steelrails

We are going round in circles, the issue is not communication. It was the announcement to the room, by the nurses, that he was there for an AIDS test.

Do you think the OP was humiliated by not being understood or by the public announcement?

In any case I get what you are saying, that he deserved it because he didn't speak word perfect Korean. Great message, be fluent in Korean or expect to be treated with a disrespect that verges on contempt.
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rollo



Joined: 10 May 2006
Location: China

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The issue is that some on here are trying to apply Western standards of privacy to an Asian country. Most of what i se written here is just the same old Korea bashing. They just view privacy differently than you do. Get over yourselves. Geez!!

Also some still have some embarassment about Aids or H.I.V. they see some stigma to a disease. and a test for it. I thought we had moved past that.

i really really thought that we had gotten rid of that antiquated mindset of seeing H.I V. positive and Aids patients as something les than.

But some on here insist that they know that getting an H.I.V. test stigmatizes them in Koreans minds. Does getting a t.b. test stigmatize you also?
the problem here lies in the minds of th NETS. who assume they know what Koreans are thinking. I see the test as no difference than a chest x-ray or any othr blood test. That is probably how most koreans see it also.
Anything else is just fabrication .
Planes leave everyday from korea back to the West. There your privacy standards are more likely to be met. Simple solution.

Oh yeah OP learn some of the language okay??
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Who's Your Daddy?



Joined: 30 May 2010
Location: The joy's in the ride.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 5:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^What a bunch of BS.

rollo wrote:
The issue is that some on here are trying to apply Western standards of privacy to an Asian country.


So, are you saying they are incapable of meeting our standards? Is it a genetic problem? And you're lumping all Asians together?
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thatkidpercy



Joined: 05 Sep 2010

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rollo wrote:

the problem here lies in the minds of th NETS. who assume they know what Koreans are thinking.


rollo wrote:

I see the test as no difference than a chest x-ray or any othr blood test. That is probably how most koreans see it also.


It appears you might be guilty of doing the same thing Laughing Laughing

I'm only kidding, and actually I agree with you in part - most people probably didn't automatically think "dirty Aids riddled foreigner" when they heard the nurse. At the same time, I speak Korean well enough to understand what's being said in the doctor's office and I've never heard a nurse announce "Mr Kim, please come through for your urine test now" - it's always just "Mr Kim!". I'm not claiming to know how a Korean person would feel if the reason for their visit was announced in public, but it's certainly not commonplace to do so.

Also, while admittedly anecdotal, there is certainly more stigma attached to Aids/HIV among my Korean coworkers than I'm used to from hearing similar conversations in the West - I had a conversation on this topic a while back and nobody had ever met someone HIV positive; a few teachers even thought it was "dirty". My school's teacher's office certainly isn't the haven of acceptance and understanding I'd like it to be!
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No_hite_pls



Joined: 05 Mar 2007
Location: Don't hate me because I'm right

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
At the same time, I speak Korean well enough to understand what's being said in the doctor's office and I've never heard a nurse announce "Mr Kim, please come through for your urine test now" - it's always just "Mr Kim!".


+1
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Steelrails



Joined: 12 Mar 2009
Location: Earth, Solar System

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't see any excuse for making someone's personal information public as if they don't matter.


But that is not what happened, you're speaking about the blurting out as if the previous 10 minutes of the language and communication difficulties didn't happen.

If the nurses had understood him from the getgo and blurted out "AIDs Testuh", then he'd have a point. But that is not what happened. The blurting out was the climax of a process that began ten minutes prior and was moved forward by the OP's attempts to demand services at a Korean hospital by using the English language.

Quote:
Maybe it would make sense to accommodate the foreigners who are only doing what they have to do with some kind of system for the required health check. You know, make things faster? More efficient? Less humiliating and stigmatizing? Something like that.


Hospitals are under separate government jurisdictions from immigration.

The process is as efficient as the person asking for it. What are the nurses supposed to do? Read the mind of the OP? Have bright booths that say "Foreign Teacher Health Exam"? Pull out the red carpet and offer you complimentary valet service? Get a number and stand in line like everyone else.

If you are going for medical care, don't be shocked at receiving substandard care if you attempt to communicate to your doctor's and nurses in a language that is not well-known to them.

The fact is, the OP was asking for an AIDs test and not for a blood screening and physical. That's like strolling into the optometrist, screaming glaucoma in a foreign language, when what you really want is a general eye exam, and then after 10 minutes, when the optometrist understands you and exclaims "Ah, Glaucoma!" you getting upset that they exclaimed "glaucoma".

Are you unable to see how the OP bears some responsibility for this situation?

Quote:
no nurse in their right mind should announce to a room full of other patients that somebody is there for a HIV test


Quote:
I'd like to think most people would have the self-awareness to not shout something out loud if it's sensitive. I certainly wouldn't.


Again, like other posters, you are ignoring the run-up that took place before the nurse shouted "AIDs". Shouting "AIDs" right off the bat does not make sense. Shouting it after 10 minutes of back and forth trying to understand the person, and the person subtely insulting you and demeaning you by treating you like a moron for not understanding their foreign language in your own country is an entirely different matter.

Seriously, do you not see the disrespect that the OP brought to the incident as well?

Quote:
We are going round in circles, the issue is not communication. It was the announcement to the room, by the nurses, that he was there for an AIDS test.


Again, see above. The announcement came as the climax of 10 minutes of attempted communication and suspect behavior from the OP.

Quote:
Do you think the OP was humiliated by not being understood or by the public announcement?


As I said, the OP brought their own issues into it.

Why did they refer to it as an AIDs test and not as a general physical screening? AIDs is but one part of the blood test you get. You also get your cholesterol and liver function tested. I believe they also check for other conditions as well.


Quote:
he deserved it because he didn't speak word perfect Korean


He deserved it because he kept trying to communicate to the staff in English and expected them to know English. Rather than attempt to communicate to them in Korea or try to figure out the proper word to speak in Korean, he insisted on them trying to learn English. That is demeaning to the nurses and reflective of his perceptions of himself relative to them.

He also failed to ask for the correct test. He asked for AIDs. He got AIDs. He could have asked for a full blood test or a regular checkup. He could have contacted his coteacher. He could have gone on Naver and found the immi website or some other information. Instead he kept on trying to get the nurses to understand and say AIDs. Finally they understood AIDs, and they said it.

================================

This isn't just a 'Korea' issue for me. This is also an issue related to my experience as a service worker and the way people often treat people behind the counter. Combine that with issues like insisting that they try to understand your English, rather than you trying to find the right words in Korean and the mentality that that reveals and that's why I'm making a stink.

Sorta off-topic, but this reminds me sometimes of arguments I get in with people at restaurants who wonder why they can't get 50 free packets of ketchup or stay an hour past closing or berate and yell at people behind a counter. From experience, I understand often why the establishment won't give you what you're asking for and explain the rationale behind it, but some people take things hyper-personally and 9/10 are people who have never worked behind that counter.

All I'm asking is that people use their imagination, creativity, and critical-thinking, skills they claim they have in spades, to put themselves as a Korean nurse behind that counter and dealing with the OP.

Guy comes in, hands you a slip of paper that evidently was not the correct request, then proceeds to insist that you understand him in English, persists in speaking to you in English, is getting agitated. You try to understand them but you are making all the effort, the guy is holding up the line, obviously he's not really understanding your difficulties or showing much consideration and finally after 10 minutes of trying to figure out what the heck it is you want, you blurt out the word he is trying to get you to understand.

But the whole situation is your fault, isn't it? Not that guy who comes in and starts talking to you in foreign jibberish and insisting you conform to his language and is holding up the 70 year old lady behind him. Not the guy who doesn't even know what he wants or the proper procedure. Nope, it's you, the Korean nurse's fault.

And somewhere between the OP's version and the version above is the truth of the matter.
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thatkidpercy



Joined: 05 Sep 2010

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 6:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:

.....


Okay.
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hiamnotcool



Joined: 06 Feb 2012

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Steelrails wrote:
Quote:
I don't see any excuse for making someone's personal information public as if they don't matter.


But that is not what happened, you're speaking about the blurting out as if the previous 10 minutes of the language and communication difficulties didn't happen.

If the nurses had understood him from the getgo and blurted out "AIDs Testuh", then he'd have a point. But that is not what happened. The blurting out was the climax of a process that began ten minutes prior and was moved forward by the OP's attempts to demand services at a Korean hospital by using the English language.

Quote:
Maybe it would make sense to accommodate the foreigners who are only doing what they have to do with some kind of system for the required health check. You know, make things faster? More efficient? Less humiliating and stigmatizing? Something like that.


Hospitals are under separate government jurisdictions from immigration.

The process is as efficient as the person asking for it. What are the nurses supposed to do? Read the mind of the OP? Have bright booths that say "Foreign Teacher Health Exam"? Pull out the red carpet and offer you complimentary valet service? Get a number and stand in line like everyone else.

If you are going for medical care, don't be shocked at receiving substandard care if you attempt to communicate to your doctor's and nurses in a language that is not well-known to them.

The fact is, the OP was asking for an AIDs test and not for a blood screening and physical. That's like strolling into the optometrist, screaming glaucoma in a foreign language, when what you really want is a general eye exam, and then after 10 minutes, when the optometrist understands you and exclaims "Ah, Glaucoma!" you getting upset that they exclaimed "glaucoma".

Are you unable to see how the OP bears some responsibility for this situation?



I'm able to see how the nurses were frustrated but not with the way they shouted it out in front of everyone. I am not ignoring the fact that the OP didn't speak Korean, I said there was no excuse - the OP not speaking Korean was no excuse for the nurse to blurt out AIDS! If it was one time then yeah it might have been a mistake, but read OPs story, apparently they restated it. One time and it might be an accident, but not after that. It was unprofessional to do that, and regardless of a language barrier it's just stupid to yell it out like that. This seems to be a problem a lot of people have here, including Koreans. Just because foreigners happen to be pointing it out doesn't automatically make it invalid.

At SMOE orientation they bring trucks in to administer the health check with the foreigners and get blood tests. It's possible for two seperate arms of a government to coordinate to make things run smoothly for everyone. I think it would be ridiculous to do that annually, but because foreigners always seem to be such a "challenge" to work with here maybe it would be best for everyone involved.
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McQwaid



Joined: 18 Jan 2004

PostPosted: Sun Feb 17, 2013 7:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had my annual tests done awhile back that included HIV tests and others. My doctor had the email address of one of my colleagues and thought it would be helpful if he emailed the scanned results to him for him to pass on to me so I didn't have to come in. I was shocked. The doctor was a really nice old guy really thought he was being helpful.
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