The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - Anne Fadiman Essay examples

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The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down - Anne Fadiman

This book addresses one of the common characteristics, and challenges, of health care today: the need to achieve a working knowledge of as many cultures as possible in health care. The Hmong population of Merced, California addresses the collision between Western medicine and holistic healing traditions of the Hmong immigrants, which plays out a common dilemma in western medical centers: the need to integrate modern western medicinal remedies with aspects of cultural that are good for the well-being of the patient, and the belief of the patient’s ability to recuperate. What we see is a clash, or lack of integration in the example of the story thereof. Lia, a
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The family is already feeling displaced in general by attempting to function in modern society after being uprooted and relocated and protected by our country. While relocation may constitute Democratic protection, there is a level of cultural protection and a comfort zone, which is lost completely. The way the family experienced the relocation was with the sensation of fear that was foreign to our culture and western medicine. When the child had this rare form of epilepsy the family thought that fright from being in a foreign environment had caused the baby's soul to flee her body and become lost to a spirit that had replaced and taken over her body thereof. The family attempted ways of curing Lia, which were quite backward to western medicine: shamanism interventions, which included sacrifices of pig and chickens in the family's home. This clashed with the intervention of the western medical community, which insisted on removing the child to westernized health care. This also meant the forcible removal of the child from her parents, which of course was not good spiritually for the child, and caused disastrous results. While the medical community attempted to intervene for the better, the child was so traumatized by being forcibly separated from her parents that it made her recovery that much
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