Differences Between The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down By Ann Fadiman

471 Words2 Pages
Cultural competency can be described as the ability to interact with different cultures in a positive manner. Many cultural differences can become apparent in a number of situations. According to Fadiman, doctors have a moral duty to save lives even if they don’t agree with the values or beliefs of someone else’s culture (1997). This paper will address the topic of cultural competency, with a concentration on the importance of cultural competency in the medical field. It is hard to imagine how frustrating it may be to come across a patient that resists a professional’s opinion because they have solid beliefs or do not understand what doctors are attempting to convey. The book “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down” by author Anne Fadiman, highlights the differences between Western medicine and the Hmong culture. According to Fadiman, a common reason for conflict was a result of language barriers and patients resisting medical advice due to…show more content…
Fadiman writes about the experience of a Hmong family, the Lees, and their epileptic daughter. According to Fadiman, the Hmong possessed dramatically differing ideas about the cause and repair of ailments or diseases in comparison to doctors in the Western world. In Hmong culture they do not distinguish between physical and mental illnesses; the two are seen as spiritually related. The Hmong people would often resist medical advice but the one form of medication they would consent to is antibiotics. However, they preferred to use alternative methods such as herbal remedies, acupuncture, or burning of the skin. (1997). The Lees caused conflict when resorting to hospice care and would not allow medical practices to take place. Although earlier care may have kept their daughters condition from worsening, the family believed that the only way for her to recover is if her soul returned to her
Open Document