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Cross-Cultural Communication In The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down

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The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down has challenged me to start thinking about different ways to approach cultural barriers. Using the Lee family and Lia as an example, the book identifies the challenges that the family faced over the years and the challenges that the providers experienced as well. As a result, the book highlights the need for cross-cultural communication in medicine, in an attempt to eliminate the barriers faced by both parties. On completing the book, my feelings towards the Lee family changed. Initially I was frustrated because Lia’s parents seemed adamant and unwilling to take care of her, considering the severity of the illness. From a western perspective, children and the elderly are the most vulnerable population and need to be given extra attention and precautions. I shadowed a pharmacists working at a children’s hospital and observed the level of care given to the…show more content…
(pg 271) She also spent some time interviewing the different physicians who took care of Lia, asking them if there was anything that would have been done differently to provide a better outcome. Fadiman evidently wants the reader to understand how cultural difference can become a barrier in providing medical care. Bruce Thowpaou Bliatout who was a Hmong medical administrator provides some measures to improve Hmong healthcare including minimizing blood drawing, allowing shamanic ceremonies in the hospital, involving family and encouraging traditional arts. As difficult as it many be, it is important for providers to understand the cultural difference and try to embrace them. One can only imagine the challenges that the Lee family encourntered from being in a foreign country, speaking a foreign language, having a different perspective of life in general and having a severely sick
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