Dr. Ricaurte’s Office Caters to Spanish Speaking Latinas

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dr_ricaurteThere are numerous health care issues for the Latino community that some health care providers don’t know much about, let alone acknowledge.  Before an examination a simple handshake from the doctor might make a huge difference to an immigrant Latino/a in their overall health care experience. When using translators, it is recommended that the patient is seated directly in front of the doctor with the person translating to the side as to create a “triangle” so that the non-verbal gestures are also understood.  These are some of the little things that may make a difference to Latinos while receiving health care.  But who better to understand Latino patients than Latino doctors, nurses, and receptionists.  It is a perspective that Dr. Eduardo Luis Ricuarte’s private practice is able to understand and cater to.  For 20 years he’s been in the field of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and in Oct. of 2004 he started his private practice in Bettendorf, Iowa close to the area where he grew up.  This “consumer driven” practice has now become a place where any Spanish-speaking patient can be tended to by Latinos from the moment they call the office.  This is especially important to an area of medicine where a lot of personal questions may be asked.“Sometimes they tell her stuff that they don’t even tell me,” Dr. Ricuarte explains as he is quick to give credit to nurse, Lisa Stout and receptionist, Josie Lindsey – who are both Latinas and bilingual – for being able to create a sense of comfort from the moment they step into the office.“It isn’t just me, it’s the nurse and the receptionist, because they’ll call the office, then there will be a pause and ‘you speak Spanish’ then right away the receptionist is bilingual and so from the beginning they just feel comfortable, not just with me.”Dr. Ricuarte is happy that his staff can tend to patients in their language but admits that “it was not by design,” it just now happens to be that way.One thing was for sure early in his life, he recalls deciding to become a doctor when he was in the third or fourth grade.  His father was a doctor in Ecuador and when Dr. Eduardo Ricuarte was only 5 years old, the family moved to the United States where his father eventually became the town doctor for Erie, Ill.“We don’t have town doctors now.  This was back in the 60s before malpractice issues and so forth, and I just saw how appreciative people were of my dad and I thought, ‘this is what I want to do,’” he said.He moved around the Quad Cities and Galesburg, Ill. went to Alleman High School in Rock Island but eventually his 12 years of medical schooling took him from Iowa City, Iowa to Guadalajara, Jalisco, Mexico to Chicago to Omaha, Neb. where he finished his residency.  After practicing in other states an opportunity arose to come back to the Quad Cities and he took it.Today he still sees that sort of appreciation patients had for his father as a town doctor in the 60s in many of his Latino patients.“The Hispanic population here is very nice, very humble, very compliant.  They are very easy to take care of.  Most of them just by nature they are very appreciative,” he adds that sometimes when he is telling them of certain options in procedures to choose from they might just respond with “whatever you think”.But the doctor does the patient wants, since Obstetrics is one of the more consumer-driven practices there is.  He will even deliver babies at whichever hospital in Iowa the patient prefers.  That gratitude is seen on pictures of many of the mothers and their babies he’s delivered that completely cover two bulletin boards on the way to his office.

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