Felix Zubia

22-02-2022, BERRIA.


The Basque-speakers are tired of hearing a vicious question posed repeatedly by pro-Spanish circles when we demand a health system in Basque: “What do you prefer, a good doctor or a Basque-language doctor?”, as if having a good and Basque-language doctor was incompatible. In this article, Felix Zubia, manager of the Intensive Care Unit in the hospital of the city Donostia, studies the topic of language and health beyond language rights.

Zubia asserts that in order to administer heath care and due attention, speaking the language of the patient is a must. He emphasizes that professional diligence requires among other capabilities providing someone with care in their own language. He also brings up an interesting point: for someone to gain a specialist position in Spain, a foreigner applying for medical residency (MIR in Spanish) is required to prove a C1 language standard in an examination. Why should this requirement be accepted for Spanish and not for Basque?