The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures by Anne Fadiman

1224 Words Jan 30th, 2018 5 Pages
This book is based on a true story of the life of a Hmong child, Lia Lee who is epileptic. She suffers from numerous grand mal seizures and eventually she becomes vegetative for the remainder of her life. The intention of this book, however, is not Lia’s condition, but to highlight the problems that exist between the two cultures and the constant battles that Lia’s doctors and parents face due to the cultural barriers that exist between them. This is not just only a story of an ill child but about the more diverse battle between Eastern and Western medicine and how each view and treat patients in such different ways. In this essay the different health-seeking strategies used during Lia’s illness, the contrasting views between Lia’s parents and the American healthcare professionals and the theories of illness causation will be discussed.
The different views held by American healthcare professionals and Lia’s parents are clearly displayed in this story. There are several different theories of illness causation identified in the book. From the very beginning, the reason Lia’s epileptic seizures started are different between her parents and doctors. Her doctors believe the scientific rationale and they try and decode the information to find the cause (Helman, 2002). They test Lia’s blood and give her several…
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