The Lees

1435 Words6 Pages
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.
Although both the Medical community and the Lees wanted the best for Lia, the Lees showed greater concern over
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Even though the medical community thought the Lees were doing everything to worsen Lia’s condition by stopping all medication, the reasoning behind their actions shows otherwise. During Lia’s critical condition the Lees had decided to go ahead with withdrawing her medications even after being informed of the possible dangers of doing so, “Nao Kao demanded that Lia’s subclavian line to be removed, and all her medications discontinued. Parents understand that the antibiotics are fighting a severe infection and that without medication Lia may get her infection back and die sooner. They understand that once we remove IV, a new line will NOT be replaced” (175). Although it sounds bad to want to put an end to the medication Lia was receiving, the Lees seemed to think that Lia was so sick she might die, and wanted to stop treatment because they thought the medicine is what was killing her. It was however, a serious matter and should have been handled with a better approach, but after Lia got discharged from the hospital and placed in the care of her parents she lived longer than doctors expected. The doctors even noted at one of her appointments that she “was the healthiest she’d ever been. She was just perfect. A perfect vegetable” (214). This showed how Foua and Nao Kao greatly cared for Lia and how their way of healing through herbal remedies was a great contribution to her condition, “At the hospital she was so sick that when she was sleeping in the bed, she sweated so much her bed got all wet. She had too much medicine and her body just gave way. But then we boiled the herbs and we washed her and her sweat stooped and she didn’t die” (180). Foua and Nao Kao continued to care for Lia like they were from the beginning. Foua has devoted her complete attention to Lia making sure that she will never be taken away by the police. And if anything Lia was a greater importance in the family
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