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 ...Show synopsisWhen 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.Hide synopsis
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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.
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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