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

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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, …show more content…

Thus, I will argue that the physicians along with the hospital had a duty to make a greater effort in ensuring that the cultural barrier between them and the Lees was kept to a minimum in order from negatively impacting Lia’s treatment. The physicians at the Merced Community Medical Center and the Lees have opposing views due to their different cultural backgrounds. The doctors’ Western medicine view is the antithesis of the Lees’ non-Western medicine perspective, but they all do what each of them believes is in Lia’s best interest with the intention of helping her. Some believe that the Lees needed to be educated and informed about epilepsy so they would understand it from a Western medicine point of view. In this case, it insinuates that due to their lack of knowledge of Western medicine and inability to trust and follow it, they were more responsible for Lia’s continuous seizures. If they listened to the doctors and gave her the right amount of each medication and remembered to do so, …show more content…

Some people may be unable to answer questions in general because they may not know the answer as specifically as doctors would. Most patients’ knowledge of diseases is limited in itself to what they observe and experience. Thus, it is more general since the majority of the time they are not themselves physicians. In other situations, patients may become irritated when asked these questions because they expect the doctor’s to know and determine the answers because it is their job to treat them. After all, the doctors are the ones who went to medical school. For example, if the physicians were to ask the Lees how severe they thought the sickness was and whether it would have a short or long course, Fadiman believes they would have said, “Why are you asking us those questions? If you are a good doctor, you should the answers yourself” (Fadiman 260). If a person were to develop an attitude such as this because he or she was asked these questions, then it begins to compromise the doctor’s position in terms of intelligence and ability to develop a better relationship with his or her patient. Therefore, Arthur Kleinman has three recommendations for cross-cultural medicine, specifically to Lia’s case. He believes that compliance should be eliminated as a term because it suggests that the

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