Welcome to another episode covering Spanish when evaluating a patient with stroke symptoms. In this lesson, we will review some key questions when gathering a history from a patient presenting with stroke symptoms.

You will hear a clinical dialogue recorded with my Spanish teacher from Mexico, Gloria Becerril, where a daughter brings her mother to the ER after finding her unable to talk and weak on one side.

After listening to the clinical dialogue, we will practice phrases and questions related to trouble speaking, difficulty with balance, and weakness.

We will also learn how to ask in Spanish when the patient last appeared normal, a critical step in determining whether our patient is eligible for thrombolytic or endovascular therapy.

Access the full transcript, the PDF, and the Quizlet set for this lesson within the Stroke Module of our Spanish for Emergencies Course. 

Table of Contents 

Clinical Dialogue 1:22

Vocabulary and phrase review  3:44

In the member lessons

  • We will practice ALL the lines of this clinical dialogue
  • We will review the second part of the clinical history and learn how to ask about numbness, vision trouble, difficulty swallowing, headache, head trauma, and loss of consciousness. 
  • Then, we'll cover the stroke exam and learn each step of the NIH stroke scale in Spanish. These lessons will be published during August for members. 

Future lessons will cover the imaging evaluation and treatment of stroke. So if you are like me and want to become proficient at caring for your Spanish-speaking patients with stroke, support the podcast and BECOME A MEMBER!

Vocabulary and Phrase Review



To behave

Está portándose fuera de lo normal. 
She is behaving abnormally. 

No puede hablar muy bien. 
She cannot talk very well. 

Tener sentido
To make sense

Dice algunas cosas, pero lo que dice no tiene sentido. 
She says some things, but what she says does not make sense. 

Last seen normal


¿Cuándo fue la última vez que ella (le) pareció normal?
When was the last time she appeared normal (to you)? 

  • Here, the doctor used the PRETERITE to ask about LA ÚLTIMA VEZ, a discrete moment in time. 
  • You could use an indirect object pronoun (le) here to ask when the patient last looked normal to the daughter: ¿Cuándo fue la última vez que LE PARECIÓ normal?
  • HINT: When PARECER is used ALONE, it is usually in the IMPERFECT tense. When used with an INDIRECT OBJECT PRONOUN (le, te, me, nos) to express someone’s impression of an event, it is almost always in the PRETERITE tense. 

¿Cuándo fue la última vez que la vio? 
When was the last time you saw her?

¿A qué hora? 
(At) what time?

¿A qué hora la vio normal por última vez?
What time did you last see her normal?



Y cuando la encontró esta tarde, ¿podía caminar? 
And when you found her this afternoon, could she walk?

  • The doctor used the PRETERITE tense to ask about the MOMENT the daughter found the patient, “Cuándo la encontró esta tarde”
  • She used the IMPERFECT tense to ask to DESCRIBE how the patient was found, “¿podía caminar?” 

¿Parecía que tenía dificultad con su equilibrio? 
Did it look like she was having difficulty with her balance?

  • Use the IMPERFECT tense to describe how she appeared. 



La debilidad

¿Tiene debilidad en alguna parte del cuerpo?
Are you weak in any part of the body?

¿Parecía que tenía debilidad en alguna parte del cuerpo?
Did it look like she was weak in any part of the body?

¡Gracias por escuchar!

  • A stroke scale assessment would be great to study. I work in the ER and would like more on those situations, triaging and intaking a pt’s assessment. Describing a heart cath for a pt and fibrinolytic, tpa etc, etc.

  • Dra Molly encontre un error. En la parte que dice : esta mañana pase por su casa para (hablarle sobre) ir a la iglesia, y … La parte en paréntesis debe ser eliminada porque el diálogo no lo menciona.

    • Muchísimas gracias Graciela por la correción. Te lo agradezco mucho. Y también actualicé el tocador para que se quede en la pantalla conforme lees los show notes.

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