nursing book report

nursing book report - McGrath 1 Lacy McGrath Survey of...

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McGrath 1 Lacy McGrath Survey of Professional Nursing 10/15/07
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McGrath 2 In Anne Fadiman’s novel The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down , she details the tragic care and treatment of Lia Lee, a Hmong child with a case of severe epilepsy and the constant clash of her family’s Hmong cultural values and beliefs and the western cultural values and beliefs of her American doctors. This clash of cultures represents the challenges that doctors go through on a daily basis when dealing with particularly obstinate patients of different cultures and the diverse values that these conflicting groups hold especially close when they come head to head and are compared to one another. The Lee family believed that Lia’s disease was a blessing and not a curse, and if they remained independent of Western medicines and technology Lia would get better. The Lee family also believed that avoiding conflict with their doctors at all costs was essential to the process of Lia’s treatment. Her doctors on the other hand, valued doing whatever it took to help the patient, in this case, Lia, survive and get better, by not only overcoming the many cultural barriers that they faced when working with the Hmong but also by honoring their religious practices. The Lee family believed that, according to Hmong legend, Lia’s epilepsy was a blessing because it would allow her to become a “ txiv neeb ”, which is a shaman, when she became an adult. They didn’t see her disease as a curse like their American doctors did; they thought it would allow her to gain access into the spiritual world that not everyone else was allowed into. Because of this, her family treated her like a princess every waking moment of her life and was given the privileges that her younger sister was supposed to have, instead of Lia. As quoted by Kathy Lammert “for traditional Hmong who have retained their animistic beliefs, epilepsy (qaug dab peg, literally translated as "the spirit catches you and you fall down," which became the title of my book) is caused by a malevolent spirit called a dab, who captures someone's soul and makes him or her sick. Epilepsy is recognized as a serious illness that can cause great suffering,
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McGrath 3 but it is also seen as a distinguished affliction, since (as in many cultures) Hmong epileptics often grow up to become shamans. Their seizures are viewed as an altered state, a potential point of entry into the spiritual realm to which the rest of us are denied access” (Lammert 2003). This belief of the Hmong culture constantly put the Lee family at odds with the doctors at Merced
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nursing book report - McGrath 1 Lacy McGrath Survey of...

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