Analysis Of The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down

Great Essays
So many times we forget to ask why – a simple, yet profound question. Anne Fadiman’s poignant book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, delves into the tragic consequences that arise due to the result of cultural discord and misunderstanding. The book illustrates the story of Lia Lee, a young Hmong child who has been diagnosed with severe epilepsy. The stark contrast in beliefs, values, and cultures between Lia’s parents and those of the physicians tending to Lia eventually snowballed into a series of colossal misunderstandings that ultimately left Lia in a persistent vegetative state. Although both sides had Lia’s best interest in mind, the failure of Lia’s doctors to dig deeper into Lia’s story, background, and culture, in addition …show more content…
from South Korea. A trip to the doctor was quite the ordeal, as my mom would have to figure out exactly what she was going to say to the doctor and spend hours looking up translations, as she did not speak much English. The doctor would get frustrated when my mom didn’t understand his instructions or descriptions right away, and made no attempt to sympathize with our difficulty in assimilating to a new country. However, I realized this couldn’t possibly compare to the frustration and resentment the Lees felt toward Lia’s doctors, as there was a massive cultural barrier in addition to the language barrier. Although Lia’s story was a tragedy, it left me with hope, as significant progress has been made regarding cultural competency and communication. I learned how crucial it is for physicians to acknowledge their limitations and imperfections, and be willing to compromise with others and question their practices to ensure that the patient receives the best holistic care possible. In my own experiences as a patient, I found that doctors easily seem to forget that a sickness not only has a physical component, but an emotional, social, psychological, and spiritual element as well. The ultimate goal is to treat the person, not the disease. It is the duty of a doctor to address all these components by maintaining a holistic outlook. This can provide explanation as to why the MCAT has been drastically modified, including new sections on psychology and sociology. These changes ensure that students aspiring to enter the medical field aren’t merely individuals who’ve memorized an inordinate number of facts, but rather, well-rounded human beings who possess analytical skills, bedside manners, and the ability to genuinely care for their patients with their psychosocial and cultural

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