Virginia Tech Cultural Diversity Questions
1. What are the issues in this case?
2. How could some of these issues have been avoided? What should the employees have done?
3. How would a much better understanding of the patient’s culture improved this situation?
Chapter 4: Cultural Diversity
roommate’s wife could not visit with her husband quietly because of the presence of Mr.
Khil’s extended family.
On the second night of Mr. Khil’s stay, a patient down the hall experienced a car-
diopulmonary arrest, requiring a team of providers to rush to her room and begin immedi-
ate resuscitative efforts. The code blue team was able to revive the patient but complained
to the nursing supervisor that even though their efforts were not hampered by the visitors
in the hallway, they were concerned about the number of people in that location. The code
blue team captain told the supervisor, “They could have slowed us down, and you know
every second counts on a code blue.” The nursing supervisor called hospital security to re-
move the family members from the floor.
The next morning, Buddy LeMacks answered his phone at St. Teresa’s Hospital.
Buddy was the hospital’s vice president for public relations, and he was responsible for all
hospital communications with the press. The call was from Vashti Bannock, the local news
health reporter who wanted to talk about the recent treatment of Mr. Khil’s family.
Mr. Khil was an elderly gentleman who arrived at St. Teresa’s hospital with pneumonia and breath
ing difficulties. Admission personnel determined that Mr. Khil could not speak English and offered
to arrange for a translator. Mr. Khil’s family members refused this offer. His daughter, Seomoon
Khil, did speak English, and all communications between the medical staff and Mr. Khil were con-
ducted via Seomoon. The language barrier was not the only difficulty. More than a dozen relatives
visited Mr. Khil at the same time. Mr. Khil was in a semiprivate room, and his relatives’ presence
was disruptive to the staff and to the patient in the room’s other bed. Further disruption occurred
when Mrs. Khil brought in a rice steamer and hot plate and cooked for Mr. Khil and the visiting
One evening, the hospital floor staff was very busy, as all private and semiprivate rooms
were occupied. Mrs. Khil and some relatives were setting up dinner in Mr. Khil’s room, and about
six other relatives were standing in the hallway. While the nurses could enter other patients’
rooms, there was concern about the number of people in and near Mr. Khil’s room. Moreover, his