Cultural Topics

Medical Spanish cultural topics that may be useful to know about when treating patients from Latin America.

El Empacho [Cultural Topic]

El Empacho medical Spanish cultural belief

“El empacho” is a Spanish phrase that literally translates to “stomach obstruction”. Basically, it refers to food or other substances causing a blockage in the stomach or intestines.   Naturally, intestinal obstructions can occur (as you know if you work in the emergency room like me). But some beliefs around El Empacho are not necessarily rooted […]

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Mal De Ojo [Medical Spanish Culture]

Mal de ojo (evil eye)

“Mal de Ojo” (occasionally “ojo malo”) is a Spanish phrase that’s most often translated as “evil eye”.  It could also be translated in other ways, such as “bad eye” or “sickness from the eye”.   Basically, Mal de Ojo refers to a supernatural belief that a jealous or envious glance can cause harm, especially to children.

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