Dr Sohrab Lutchmedial

“Learning another language may be the easiest and the smartest thing you can ever do.”

Never assume that somebody does not speak the other official language or you may turn red…

Sohrab Lutchmedial once stepped into an elevator at the Saint John Hospital to join a pair of young French girls likely going to visit a parent. One commented to the other in French "Hey, that's a good looking doctor, you should ask him out!", obviously thinking that Sohrab wouldn't understand. As the elevator stopped and the doors opened, the girls paused unsure of where to turn. Sohrad spoke up and told them "Soins intensifs à votre gauche, et merci pour le compliment! (Intensive Care on your left and thank you for the compliment!)" “They turned bright red and practically ran off! ” said Lutchmedial. “She never did ask me for that date, unfortunately....”.

Sohrab is a physician at the New Brunswick Heart Centre in Saint John. He knows quite well the advantages of speaking both French and English. “Speaking French was a large part in getting my job,” he explains. “While bilingualism wasn't mandatory, a working knowledge of French helps a great deal in my line of work. Patients are so much more comfortable when they can be treated in their own language – when they are already sick, exhausted and scared, a simple thing like language can make all the difference in the world.” 

The physician has found many ways to keep up his skills in French, his second language. “I have many French speaking patients, and conversing with them and their families is the best way to maintain my proficiency. As well, I have recently introduced the classic Asterix and Tintin comics to my children, and we have French language copies of their adventures around the house. I also enjoy watching the Montreal Canadiens hockey games, and often watch them on RDS in French.”

Sohrab appreciates the fact that New Brunswick is the only officially bilingual province: “It shows forward thinking and open mindedness,” he explained. “Learning languages opens doors and creates opportunities that unilingual speakers of either language will never have. Learning another language may be the easiest and the smartest thing you can ever do.”