When three-month-old Lia Lee arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run "Quiet War" in Laos. The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely independent ...Read MoreWhen three-month-old Lia Lee arrived at the county hospital emergency room in Merced, California, a chain of events was set in motion from which neither she nor her parents, Foua and Nao Kao, were part of a large Hmong community in Merced, refugees from the CIA-run "Quiet War" in Laos. The Hmong, traditionally a close-knit and fiercely independent people, have been less amenable to assimilation than most immigrants, adhering steadfastly to the rituals and beliefs of their ancestors. Lia's pediatricians, Neil Ernst and his wife, Peggy Philip, cleaved just as strongly to another tradition: that of Western medicine. When Lia Lee entered the American medical system, diagnosed as an epileptic, her story became a tragic case history of cultural miscommunication.Read Less
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New in new dust jacket. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down explores the clash between a small county hospital in California and a refugee family from Laos over the care of Lia Lee, a Hmong child diagnosed with severe epilepsy. Lia's parents and her doctors both wanted what was best for Lia, but the lack of understanding between them led to tragedy. Winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Current Interest, and the Salon Book Award, Anne Fadiman's compassionate account of this cultural impasse is literary journalism at its finest.
Fadiman does a great job narrating the story of a refugee Mong family living in America. Her details and utilization of history provides the reader with a great background to understand the perspectives of the family and the situation they faced throughout their intercultural encounter with various American medical staff.
Nov 10, 2011
Fascinating read on how complex cross-cultural care is and the efforts that some trauma folks make in the heat of the moment. I bought this book for my pre-med friends.
Mary Lee A
Oct 13, 2011
Very interesting descriptions of the difficulties presented by cultural differences in a medical setting. More appropriate for those entering/in the medical professions.
Nov 4, 2010
Very good book, must read
This book is amazing. It will have you frustrated at times and still loving all people involved in Lia's treatment.
Mar 2, 2010
A Second Dimension to Healthcare
I read this for my anthropology class, and as a Pre-Med, this book was beyond beneficial---it really opened my eyes and mind to a perspective I never considered. With science taking over as the revered thing of the millenium... we dismiss culture as being naive, primitive. But practices don't live on for centuries if they had no power... and shamanistic medicine is not a fairy tale... it's beyond what we've been taught, but can be just as effective.
This book shows the importance of cross-cultural healthcare...in working with a patient's culture and background, not against it.
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