Personal Narrative: My Life As A Vietnamese American Patient

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It was stage four bone cancer. The patient, Father Peter Pham, was from Vietnam but came to the United States in hopes of receiving free cancer treatment from a New York hospital. To his disappointment, the hospital had already given its monthly pro bono case to another patient. So, while waiting for the next available opening, he journeyed to Georgia where he had acquaintances. Father Peter visit marred with pain. In hopes of alleviating his pain, Father Pham’s acquaintances reached out to Dr. Pham, a known physician in the Vietnamese community for help. She accepted the case. Since I was shadowing her at the time, she took me with her when she conducted a house visit to see the patient. As a primary physician, try as she might, there was…show more content…
Pham’s clinic she asked me how college was going. I told her the problems I was experiencing and my thoughts of changing career. However instead of comforting or supporting my decision, I was reprimanded. “You can’t quit something because it’s hard. As a Vietnamese-American woman you are going to face discrimination no matter where you go. If you want to be a doctor, fight for it. Learn how to turn a bad situation into your favor, and be a role model for others like you. Show that it is possible for minorities like us to reach the “impossible.” If you quit now, you were never sincere about becoming a doctor.” She said exactly what I needed to hear, and I returned with a new fire ignited within me. I was determined to be seen as an equal. I dedicated more time towards studying and it showed when I made A’s on exams that my peers struggled with. I was finally seen as equal as others intellectually. However, I then got comments of being an “exceptional Asian.” In response I’d ask “Why do you say that?” Usually responses would be “Look how well you’re doing! Tons have dropped but you’re still here!” Normally, I would try to point out that there were other Asian students that also do well in the class, and that comments like “exceptional Asian” were uncomfortable. One reason minorities leave courses related to science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) is because discriminatory remarks make others feel uncomfortable, so they leave and enroll in courses where they feel more comfortable in. I’m only “exceptional” because I had someone to encourage me and help me remain in the field. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have someone like that. Thus it’s always important to take notice of others and any possible differences they might have, because it can help improve interactions between both parties. Through communication, my peers realized the harmful acts they engaged in, and it helped them consciously and actively try not to engage
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