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How lia lee case change healthcare systems

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They had little furniture aside from a TV, which was usually on. Family photographs, posters, and a three-foot long qeej adorned the walls. Outside in the parking lot, Foua cultivated dozens of medicinal plants in plastic buckets and discarded motor-oil cans.

Fadiman spent hundreds of hours with May Ying and the Lees, and the four became close enough to use Hmong terms of endearment with one another. However, it wasn't helpful to ask them about particular events, as they lumped all of Lia's doctors together and the diagnoses meant little to them. They also thought of time in a different way, identifying years by salient event rather than by number, such as "the year Lia became government property. In Merced, each month's activities were similar to every other's, and therefore it was hard to recall when events had occurred.

The Lees answered Fadiman's questions, but they also had their own agenda: to explain Hmong culture to her so she could understand it and explain it to the doctors. For instance, they taught her that one's soul sometimes wanders off and causes a patient to become sad and sick. Doctors can fix some sicknesses involving the body and the blood, Foua explained, but sometimes people get sick because of their soul and therefore need spiritual things. She felt with Lia it was important to do both a little medicine and a little neeb, or shamanic ritual, but to limit the medicine as it could cut the neeb's effect.

The doctors wouldn't let them give just a little medicine, she explained, because they didn't understand about the soul. Nao Kao likewise explained that the Hmong often get sick because they encounter a dab, but that doctors didn't understand this and therefore didn't treat them effectively. For instance, a man's son was once made sick by a dab living in a creek; the doctors tried to cure him with shots and medicines, but the only thing that would have saved him would have been to sacrifice a dog.

As she got to know her, Foua took Fadiman in hand. She taught her to say please and thank you in Hmong and how to treat a headache by rubbing an egg-covered coin up and down her body. Once, she decided to get her married by dressing her as a Hmong bride for her boyfriend. She was adorned in piece after piece of paj ntaub, or embroidered cloth: a long sash to fatten her up and make her look strong, a skirt with hundreds of pleats that had probably taken several years to make, an apron, a jacket, four bags decorated with dangling silver coins, a five-tier necklace of silver, puttees, and a pagoda-shaped hat covered with silver coins.

Fadiman's boyfriend George was stunned. While he didn't appreciate the beauty of the attire, a week later he asked Fadiman to marry him, which didn't surprise Foua at all. Although she acknowledged her skill at needlework, generally speaking Foua was self-deprecating. She felt she was stupid because she didn't understand English, couldn't read the numbers on a telephone, and couldn't even shop for food, not knowing what was in the packages.

Fadiman suggested she herself would have just as much trouble in Laos and asked Foua to describe a typical day. Foua would wake up in the early morning, light an oil lamp, cook rice for her children, and clean the house with a handmade broom.

She would then cut wild grasses for the pigs and cows, feed the animals, and walk with her husband to the fields with her baby on her back. The two of them would plant seeds, clear the fields, harvest the right, thresh and winnow the rice, or grind the corn, depending on the season.

When they returned, she would fetch water from the stream and carry it on her back. She would bathe the babies by boiling the water and mixing it with water from another bowl. Then she would feed the animals, cook for her family, and sew by lamplight to make good clothes for the children for New Year's. Her house was made of wood, constructed with the help of her relatives. It had just one room, with an earthen floor and beds made of bamboo.

They had no blankets and slept holding the babies near the fireplace to keep warm. Fadiman realized that when Foua had said she was "stupid," what she really meant was that none of her skills were transferable, except being an excellent mother to her nine surviving children. However, the US government had contradicted even this, declaring her a child abuser. When asked if she missed Laos, Foua explained how she missed the sense of freedom, of owning her own food sources and being able to do what she wanted to do.

While she was more comfortable in Merced, she didn't like being dependent on others to eat. Chapter 7 continues the theme of power, as the Lees were rendered completely powerless. The entire Hmong community felt the injustice. Foua and Nao Kao were doing their very best for their daughter who was quite a challenge behaviorally as well as medically , showering her with love and administering what they felt was the best regimen to make her get better, and her doctors - who had not yet been able to cure her - took her away.

The only way the parents could get their daughter back was to follow the doctors' instructions to the letter, and yet this meant they had to capitulate and give medications that they honestly believed were hurting Lia. There is a philosophical question here. Who should have the power when it comes to making decisions for a child?

Doctors have scientific knowledge, yes, but the fact that Lia's seizures continued and even increased in frequency despite her foster parents following the doctors' instructions shows that their knowledge is fallible. There is something to be said for the Hmong view: that because they gave birth to the child, provide for his or her needs, and love the child, they are in the best position to make decisions.

One of Neil Ernst's justifications was that the Hmong needed to understand there were certain rules they had to abide by. This attitude supports the idea that his behavior was part of the racist history of the United States, in which Asians were seen as needing to be "socialized" and made to conform to Western norms.

Jeanine Hilt stands in stark contrast. While she is part of the system that removed Lia from her parents, she took a great interest in the family and grew to love them. In an interview, Fadiman described Jeanine as "a short, plump, Hmong-sized woman who would sit with them on the floor," and whose "heart was in a Hmong place.

Because she loved them, they loved her too. For this reason, Foua accepted her help at "socialization" and learned to administer Lia's medication. In Chapter 8, Fadiman inserts herself into the story, explaining how she came to meet the Lees. It is important to recognize that she, too, had her own cultural biases, and that as an ethnographer, she likely influenced the people she was interviewing and the ways in which they told their story.

Fadiman saw this firsthand when her first two interpreters, older men with high status in the community, would have animated conversations with her interviewees yet tell her almost nothing about what had been said. May Ying Xiong was far more helpful, as she didn't look down on Fadiman for being a young woman, interpreted what people said, and later explained the cultural background of what had been talked about.

Fadiman's interviewees may also have held back at times because, according to at least one Hmong critic, the Hmong are known to share only "acceptable" cultural information with Westerners. Fadiman's invisible cultural biases may also have influenced the way in which she described the Lees. She included extensive physical descriptions and described their determination by referring to natural forces: "They looked well-rooted, as if it would take a gale force wind, or maybe even an earthquake, to knock them over" Her descriptions of Neil Ernst and Peggy Philp in Chapter 5, by contrast, primarily referred to their personalities and their intelligence.

Although they too have strong determination, their descriptions were free of such language. Despite these inevitable biases, it seems that Foua and Nao Kao accepted Fadiman for the same reasons that they accepted Jeanine Hilt: she respected who they were, expressed a sincere interest in their culture and beliefs, and grew to love them.

Furthermore, like Dwight Conquergood see Chapter 4 , believed that the Hmong had just as much to teach westerners as westerners had to teach the Hmong. She let Foua dress her up as a Hmong princess in the middle of the hot summer to inspire her boyfriend to propose, learned to rub a coin on her body to treat a headache, and acknowledged that she would likely have as much trouble living in a Hmong community in Laos as Foua was having in the United States. Once again, respect and two-way communication seems to be far more effective than coercion.

How did learning the history and beliefs of the Hmong people influence your understanding of their perspective of Western medicine? Did it make you more empathetic or not? Can you think of anything that might have prevented it? They spoiled her and treated her like a princess, believing that her epilepsy marked her as special and that she might someday become a shaman.

Lia's frequent In Western medicine, what is "quag dab peg"? The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down study guide contains a biography of Anne Fadiman, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.

Remember me. Forgot your password? Buy Study Guide. This question calls for your opinion, there is no right or worng answer. A lack of translators presents one challenge, but even with a translator- how does one translate something that the other language does not even have a word for?

This does not just create a gap in communication, it creates a canyon. They have trusted their ways of treating the sick for their entire life, and chose to continue to follow their method of healthcare for what they believed to be best for their child.

Some expressed a real fear that they would be the physician on call when Lia would have the one seizure the all knew was coming- the seizure that could be fatal. But Lia did not die. Following this seizure, the doctors caring for Lia believed she would pass quickly, and began to remove life support. However, Lia went on to live with no change in her state until she was 30 years old, passing away in This is significantly longer than most in similar conditions.

The impact of this book has been vast on the medical community, and the progressing concept of how culture and language impacts medicine. As a former Anthropology student, I thought this book did a wonderful job at presenting this idea of ethnocentrism in medicine. How does western medicine differ and is similar to that of different healthcare practices around the globe? Why is this often viewed as the one way to treat patients? How can doctors better treat patients from cultural backgrounds and beliefs different from their own?

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News-Letter Weekly Leisure Weekly. Have a tip or story idea? Tags: voices. Related Articles. Editor's Picks. Exclusive interview with President Ronald J. Science news in review: Dec. Events this weekend Dec.

Weekly Rundown. To watch and watch for: Week of Dec. Tweets by jhunewsletter. Leisure Interactive Food Map. Many people viewed the Hmong as simplistic, dirty and uncultured. When reading this novel I found myself frequently questioning which side to support. After she suffered a seizure that left her in a vegetative state, her family took care of her for almost the entire 30 years of her life with an uncommon devotion. In the afterword to the newest edition, Fadiman reveals the arduous research process she went through in writing this book.

In fact she refuses to update her book with information from newly published textbooks on Hmong culture and history because she feels it would be an insult to the years she spent alongside the Lees, to the story she had promised to tell.

The medical community has begun to recognize the importance of tolerating other cultures and beliefs and not just considering, but prioritizing, them when treating patients. Fadiman ends her journey with the Lees on an uplifting note, as she realizes that empathy is the common language that can unite doctor and patient, and by extension, any two groups of people who are otherwise separated by communication barriers.

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WebLee stated that she did experience menopause, but due to lack of knowledge on menopause Lee did not understand what she was experiencing. She understood it was related to . WebNov 2, Not only that, she would change the course of western medicine and redefine the role of medical interpreters in the modern world. Lia Lee, the daughter of a Hmong Missing: healthcare systems. Nov 2, Not only that, she would change the course of western medicine and redefine the role of medical interpreters in the modern world. Lia Lee, the daughter of a Hmong refugee Missing: healthcare systems.