The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down, By Anne Fadiman

Great Essays
In the United States, many doctors face the challenge of working with patients that are of a different race or ethnicity from him or herself. Along with that, these patients are left confused and with a sense of powerlessness when working with American doctors. It becomes very hard to communicate not only because of a distinct language barrier, but also a cultural barrier. Many cultures approach situations in different ways, especially in regard to medical care. The book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman, is a story about a Hmong family who seeks treatment in the United States for their daughter Lia. The Lees family adapts to the Americanized way of transportation and dress, but they find it very difficult to assimilate …show more content…
May Ying assisted the doctor in understanding how the Lees family feels and the best way to work with them. This doctor-patient relationship, as any, is vital for giving appropriate care to a patient. Many believe that it is essential for patient’s voices to be heard and thoroughly understood, instead of being instructed what to do by a doctor without the patients opinions and thoughts being taken into consideration in the process (Lo 2016: p. 395). This display of dominance not only shows that doctors have the most power in the situation, but it eradicates the doctor-patient relationship. While doctors operate through the biomedical model of healing, they must understand the “fish soup” concept in Hmong culture to create a diagnosis and recovery method. This would hybridize the current American model with that of the Hmong culture. The Hmong people love to explain their history and how that could affect their lives at the moment. Lo (2016) states that the best way to solve these problems is to bridge the gap between the patient and doctor by working with the patient long-term. Once doctors realize why their patients are not complying with all the rules and standards given to them, some admitted that the patients had a right to do so. This is because the doctors did not fully understand their patient when prescribing their treatment (Lo 2016). Though some may think this is extreme, one doctor helped a Hmong patient and his family go through one of the many healing rituals done in Hmong culture, deviating from the normal medical routine (Lo 2016: p. 404). Afterwards, that specific Hmong family acquired a great deal of respect for the doctor and were willing to put forth more effort in understanding the way of American

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