1 March 2018
Midterm: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down It is a story about a family who shows so much loyalty to their traditions and cultures, but it clashes with the strict American “norm” and creates conflict for their most prized possession, their daughter. Young Lia’s health is at risk when the doctors are trying to treat her epilepsy, but the culture barrier between them and her parents put her at risk. Lia’s parents, Nao Kao and Foua Lee believe that their ancient traditions and healing is what Lia needs in order to get better, but Lia’s doctors prescribe her with many prescriptions to help with the seizures and her parent’s inability to read or speak English to communicate …show more content…
Over the progression of the book the view points and relationships between the Lees and the doctors develops slightly. The medical staff was not prepared with a translator or a cultural understanding of the Hmong and how their beliefs would not match up with their medical practices. “Not only do the Hmong fail resoundingly to improve the payer mix- more than eighty percent are on Medi-Cal- but they have proved even more costly than other indigent patients, because they generally require more time and attention, and because there are so many of them that MCMC has to hire bilingual staff members to mediate between patients and providers” (Fadiman 25). This theme in the story was immensely eye opening for all of the cultural gaps that exist throughout the United States. The solution to this problem is for both sides standing on opposite sides of the gap to take the time to bridge the gap together. In order for this to work both cultures need to first build the relationships and establish a sense of trust between each other. Then, they need to be empathetic towards each other. In this case it is not where you are sympathetic for someone who does not understand the new culture around them, but you put yourself in their shoes and try to understand the difficult circumstances that are in front of them to help close the gap and not make it …show more content…
After reading it I do not view our society the same, and I most definitely do not view our education system the same. I will take what I learned from this story and apply it in my classroom as a teacher. I will be empathetic towards each and every student and their family and where they come from. There is value in every culture and if we take the time to understand it we will build more relationships than we could ever imagine. It will be incredible to see the way student’s lives are impacted when one person takes the time to try and learn and be a part of their culture and values it no matter
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In Anne Fadiman’s book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, two cultures clash with each other in the struggle to save Lia Lee, a Hmong child refugee with severe epilepsy. Although Lee and her family live in the United States, and thus receive medical care from Westerners, her family believes that Lee’s condition is sacred and special. The following miscommunications, both culturally and lingually, between the American doctors and the Lee family leave Lia Lee in comatose at the end of the book. However, Lia Lee could have been saved if the Lee’s had a better understanding of the American doctors’ intentions, and the American doctors understood the Hmong culture. Essentially, the tragedy of Lia Lee can be attributed to the clash of American and Hmong cultures at both the surface and sub-surface level.
The Hmong became frustrated with the American medicine as seen when the author says that it was typically Hmong for patients to appear passively obedient only to later ignore everything they had supposedly assented to after they left the hospital. It therefore stressed the doctors who considered the Hmong as the most difficult patients. This was well brought out by a doctor who said that the only easy way to treat the Hmong people was with a bullet in their head known as “high velocity transcortical lead therapy” (63). Lia was equally difficult to the point that nurses would pray she is not admitted any time she fell epileptic. The uncooperative nature of the Lees made Lia be taken away from them
Anne Fadiman’s book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, explicitly illustrates the cultural divide between a Hmong family, the Lees, and the physicians treating their daughter, Lia Lee, at the Merced Community Medical Center. Lia first begins to experience seizures when she is about three months old. This is initially when the conflict arises between the physicians and the Lees. In contrast to Lia’s Western medicine diagnosis of epilepsy, her parents interpret epilepsy, or quag deb peg in the Hmong language, as both a serious and dangerous disease and a sign of distinction, indicating that she could potentially become a shaman (Fadiman 20-21). On the other hand, the physicians are continuously trying to prevent and treat Lia’s seizures,
The executive management staff was 100% white and the support and administrative team were 100% Afrincan American. In a recent survey, only 30% of blacks, 10% of Hispanics and 20% of Asians were very satisfied with their services, compared to 80% of Caucasians. They said they didn’t feel welcomed and nobody understood them. The manager staff had a lot to say back, revealing subconscious racism and bias towards the minority patients, and even toward each other.
The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman is an analysis of Western medicine and traditional Hmong medicine in the treatment of a young child with severe epilepsy in Merced, California. The book also details Hmong culture, history, and their life as refugees in the United States. The majority of the Hmong populations, especially in central California where the book takes place, rely on welfare and this creates tensions with the other populations in the area. Her book is an eye opening introduction into the Hmong culture, the clash of traditional and western medicine, the discrimination of refugees, and the importance of cultural inclusivity.
Cross-cultural methods and approaches should be taken to accommodate for the diverse patient population in our communities. I will introduce the culture clash by first describing the Hmong point of view on health and illness. Then, I will proceed my analysis by comparing it with the Western perspectives and practices on healing. Social stigma will also be emphasized as another negative factor
Lia’s parents endured great mental suffering from taking care of Lia 24/7 and the Hmong had to witness their own men being taken away to fight in war, never to return. Continuing with comparison, the plight of the American doctors is as difficult as the Hmong at points. Some of the doctors did have their varying opinions, but most really just wanted to feel that they did their job to the fullest extent. Many hours and thousands of dollars were spent on Lia and her condition. One could say that Fadiman does have bias towards the Hmong, but if she had chosen to completely side with them, she wouldn’t have mentioned the third element of suffering: the doctors who wanted to better a
Ethnomedicine has been historically defined as any healthcare system not present in the West; now, ethnomedicine is defined as the any cultural beliefs which surround healing in a community. The Hmong—an ethnic group located within present day Laos, Vietnam, and Thailand—have a particular system of ethnomedicine which is described as personalistic. Within a personalistic system, an active agent is the underlying cause of a disease—or etiology. Humans can be the cause of the disease as well as a number of non-human and supernatural agents. When Lia Lee began seizing at three months of age, her parents understood that the active agent which caused her epilepsy was a door slamming which caused her soul to fly from her body, an illness called quag
In the book Dr. Alvord provided a very detail narrative of the challenges she encounter as a Navajo native, and you did a very good job illustrating those challenges. I agree with you that Dr. Lujan helped her to get through many barriers in medical school. When she in surgery internship she mentioned that her obstacles is that she a women and a native American. Dr.Lujan challenges her capabilities and provided her challenging patient, she learned that she has to put more effort in this field. “As a minority physician, you will be constantly challenged, your decisions will be questioned, your authority doubted.
In her book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, Anne Fadiman describes the story of the Lee family and the frightening task they had to to undergo to provide their daughter with medical aid. The Lees along with the other thousands of Hmong immigrants, tried to understand the and navigate the complex and sometimes confusing healthcare system in the United States. As the book points out, the values and ideals of the Hmong culture and the United States health care system are not always the same and sometimes come into great conflict with each other. Lia Lee was unfortunately the person stuck in the middle of this great conflict.
As soon as you understand more about a person, you can be more empathetic and understanding of different cultures. I come from a Hispanic and German background so I have had the chance to enjoy multiple cultures already. Yet, experiencing and learning about new cultures is important to create better more understanding
Over the past four months, this course has been one of the most eye-opening experiences I have had during my first year of college. Although I have always realized the importance of being culturally competent in daily life, specifically healthcare, I was unaware of the many ways that cultural competence can be obtained. This class gave me the opportunity to view situations from a different perspective, especially through the weekly discussion boards and peer responses. Learning from classmate can teach more valuable lessons than listening to boring lectures or reading hundreds of pages in a textbook because it is easier to relate to experience rather than hypothetical situations. For example, one of the discussion boards asked us to detail
Abstract Communicating successfully with people from different cultures can be a real challenge. Cultural differences may lead to tensions, arguments, and even wars between peoples and nations. This paper deals with one of the most common problems in intercultural communication cultural shock, it introduces its concepts and basic traits, causes and symptoms, stages of adjustment and strategies of overcoming culture shock with the aim of improving intercultural communication competence for smoothing intercultural communication. Key words: Cultural shock; Intercultural communication; Stages of adjustment; Intercultural communication competence Wang, M. L. (2015).
Teaching this respect have to be foremost duty of all teachers training curriculum. She relates the incident of who speaks Spanish, a Mexican American girl brought up in the Southwest whose life was initially a bit problematical. Her multicultural school they faced a lack of tolerance for nonmainstream societies that led to incidents of disrespect. (the Effects of Racism in School). However, it was only when a new teacher saw her potential over and above her color and encouraged her academic progress which eventually made her a renowned public