30 basic Spanish medical phrases you can use when you visit the doctor

30 basic Spanish medical phrases you can use when you visit the doctor

by Alison Maciejewski Cortez

Updated November 4, 2022

Lately our Spanish learners at Lingoda have been asking for medical vocabulary. Partly it’s due to winter being flu season (temporada de gripe). For others living in warm weather climates, it’s because we have study abroad students in Chile, Mexico, and Spain who are dealing with pandemic symptoms in the news. Regardless of where you are, if you study Spanish online or in person, it’s the right time to brush up on your Spanish medical vocabulary. We’ve addressed how to visit a pharmacy in a Spanish-speaking country before. Today’s blog is all about going to see the doctor.

Here are 30 Spanish words and phrases you need to visit the doctor

Register as a patient in Spanish

Anyone who takes Spanish classes or lives in a Spanish-speaking country knows you can’t see the doctor until you get registered. Registering as a patient in Spanish can be intimidating, but even a beginner can do it. If you have to register by phone, review our post on speaking by phone in Spanish Tip: When it comes to names, remember that Spanish names work differently. According to custom, most Spanish-speakers have two surnames. The first is from their father and the second is from their mother. Lilia Cortez Carrizo for example. If you are from the UK or the USA, don’t be surprised to confirm that you have only one surname.  

  1. ¿Cómo se llama usted? – What is your name?
  2. ¿Con quién tengo el gusto/placer? – With whom do I have the pleasure (of speaking with)?
  3. nombre – name
  4. segundo nombre – middle name (second name)
  5. apellido(s) – surname/last name(s) 
  6. número de móvil/celular – mobile phone number
  7. número de identificación – ID number (from a passport or residence card)
  8. dirección y número de casa – street address and house number
  9. edad – age 
  10. fecha de nacimiento – birthdate (review our post on how to say dates in Spanish)

Basic Spanish vocabulary for visiting the doctor

Remember to use your best Spanish accent when speaking with medical staff. Follow the pronunciation cues below. Here is some basic vocabulary that will get you through the door on your visit to the doctor in Spanish. 

  1. médica/o – doctor 
  2. enfermera/o – nurse 
  3. hospital – hospital (say “oh-spee-TAL” with a silent H)
  4. clínica – clinic
  5. laboratorio – laboratory
  6. mascarilla/cubrebocas/tapabocas y careta protectora – facemask and protective face shield
  7. quiero tomar una prueba – I want to take a test/exam
  8. PCR – Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is the same term in Spanish (say “pe-ce-ere”)
  9. tengo una cita – I have an appointment 
  10. se me pegó algo – I caught something (something attached itself to me)
  11. yo fumo – I smoke
  12. soy alérgico a mariscos – I am allergic to seafood
  13. soy diabética/o – I am diabetic

Spanish vocabulary for injuries and ailments

Once you are in to see the doctor, you will need to describe your symptoms. We went over mild illness symptoms in our post about pharmacy visits in Spanish. Since a doctor visit often deals with more than a headache, we will go over phrases for more serious injury in Spanish. In the first four phrases below, you can substitute any body part with the underlined portion.

  1. me lastima el tobillo – my ankle hurts
  2. me duele la cabeza – my head aches
  3. se me cortó el dedo – I cut my finger (my finger was cut)
  4. se me rompió el brazo – I broke my arm (my arm was broken)
  5. me siento agotado – I feel exhausted
  6. no puedo respirar – I can’t breath
  7. me desmayé y no me desperté por tres minutos – I fainted and I didn’t wake up for three minutes

With enough Spanish vocabulary to register with the doctor, speak to medical staff, and describe your symptoms, you will be ready for a doctor’s visit from beginning to end. Most of all, you will understand what is being asked of you, so you can feel confident with your care. Don’t forget to keep your medical receipts and submit them to your insurance provider for reimbursement. Study these words and phrases and when the time comes, you will be ready for your doctor’s visit in Spanish. 

Would you feel comfortable making a doctor’s appointment in Spanish today? 

Practise useful medical conversations in Spanish by taking a video chat lesson. Enrol in a 7-day free trial with Lingoda’s native speaking Spanish teachers today.

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