In March, just weeks into the COVID-19 pandemic, the incident command center at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston was scrambling to understand this deadly new disease. It appeared to be killing more black and brown patients than whites. For Latino patients, there was an additional warning sign — language.
Patients who didn't speak much, if any, English had a 35% greater chance of death.
Clinicians who couldn't communicate clearly with patients in the hospital's COVID units noticed it was affecting outcomes.