Summary Of The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down By Anne Fadiman

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Tenzin Dasel
Professor Melissa Kosinski Collins
Brandeis Stem Posse 11
June 5, 2018
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
Cultural diversity is becoming increasingly important in the workplace. This is particularly true in the medical field facing demographic shifts in the patients served and their families. The clash between western medicine and non-American culture becomes persistent as immigrants increase and so the significance of a mutual understanding of culture and medicine between a doctor and patient becomes more obvious. Anne Fadiman, in “The Spirit catches you and you fall down” intersperses anecdotes and uses precise writing to make her audience understand the significance of cultural sensitivity and the role …show more content…

In today’s increasingly diverse society, it becomes necessary for doctors to learn to value ethnic diversity. Such an act would not only deliver effective health care to all patients of different cultural or ethnic backgrounds but also would help medical providers understand the patient’s beliefs to some extent which would help build a much stronger doctor-patient relationship. Fadiman focuses on the importance of this very relationship in the story since it was weak due to lack of communication and understanding between the Hmong family and the Doctors. She states that “Dan had no way of knowing that Foua and Nao Kao had already diagnosed their daughter’s problem as [soul loss]. Foua and Nao Kao had no way of knowing that Dan had diagnosed it as epilepsy...” Lia’s tragic end would have been possibly avoided if her doctors were more sensitive and were communicating well with their patients. Moreover, the American Academy of Pediatrics agrees that physicians need to “...take into account the beliefs, values, actions, customs, and unique health care needs of distinct population groups. Providers will thus enhance interpersonal and communication skills, thereby strengthening the physician-patient …show more content…

In the very first place, it is a challenge in itself for institutions to fit in this topic of cultural sensitivity in their student’s already packed curriculum. Medical students/Doctors do not have time in their hectic schedules to learn about various cultures. As such, some of the practices done in certain cultures goes against the current medical system (law) in the United States. Here, medical staffs are required to report any suspicion of child abuse and this is exactly what the doctors in “The Spirit Catches You and You fall down” does. The Doctor reports Lia’s parents to Child Protective Services because they were not giving Lia the prescribed medication properly and that was considered child abuse. Thus, no matter how much culturally sensitive a doctor or a healthcare professional is trained, there are certain laws that need to be

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