The Spirit Catches You, a Look at Qdp vs Epilepsy Essay

827 WordsApr 30, 20124 Pages
The collision of cultures is seen through out the story of Lia and her family. Starting in the beginning of Lia’s story the same piece of information was being interpreted by two different cultures in different ways. The Merced Hospital Staff believed Lia suffered from Epilepsy. They believed it translated into Qaug dab peg. What was misunderstood is that quag dab peg were not really perceived as the same thing in Hmong culture as Epilepsy is in western medicine, In the Hmong culture, QDP is believed to be caused by a bad spirit called a dab. It is believed that dabs are responsible for stealing souls and making its victims sick. Epilepsy is recognized by western medicine as a serious neurological condition. Although Epilepsy and Quag…show more content…
A lot of the treatment after the first few years was just to keep Lia’s physical state healthy. After Lia’s suffered brain damage, the goal in caring for her changed from curing her to keeping her physical body alive and well. I believe that the “gulf” between western medicine and the Hmong culture is bridgeable. If there had there been someone in the beginning of Lia’s battle with epilepsy to interpret on a cultural level, the process of caring for Lia would have been much smoother regardless of the outcome. Upon entering the hospital for the first time, nor the doctors or the Lees had any idea how to thoroughly communicate with each other on the same level. Aside from the difficulty communicating with language, each group had a different interpretation of what the task of ‘curing’ Lia entailed. The goal or end result of caring for Lia’s illness was different for each group. Both groups felt the necessary steps were being taken, whether it be a shamanic soul calling ritual, or a double up on dose of Phenobarbital. If a cultural understanding existed before the events of Lisa treatment unfolded, some conflict may have been avoided. Evidence of the ability to close or bridge this “gulf” separating these cultures is apparent in the work of many doctors and Social workers. Francesca Farr, a social worker who deeply

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