Anthropology: American and Hmong Medical Differences

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  • Topic: Illness, Epilepsy, Seizure
  • Pages : 3 (517 words )
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  • Published : March 11, 2011
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INTRO. In America, doctors follow the Western belief in using medication and doing various testing procedures when treating patients, while the Hmong shamans believe in treating the spiritual ailment of the person through elaborate traditional practices. Shamans who themselves are epileptic try communicating with “a malevolent spirit called a dab” (Fadiman 1998: 4). The Hmong shaman is “believed to have the ability to enter a trance…and negotiate for this patients’ health with the spirits who lived in the realm of the unseen” (Fadiman 1998: 4). The differences between the two cultures pose many problems for Hmong refugees who seek medical help in America. However, American doctors taught to have an open mind and to have respect towards other cultures might not encounter as much of a clash as ignorant American doctors may have to deal with. They must be able to acknowledge differences between Hmong practices and Western beliefs of medicine. Also, American doctors should be open to listen to family members of the patient through translators which Merced’s hospital lacked during the early years of Lia’s emergency visits.

HOW HMONG SHAMANS TREAT MEDICAL ILLNESSES

EPILEPTICS THEMSELVES. THEY RECEIVE SPIRITUAL STATUS OR TXIV NEEB THROUGH THEIR EPILEPTIC SEIZURES.

HMONG BELIEVE SHAMAN CONVULSE WHICH SHOWS THEIR SOUL LEAVING THEM AND EASILY COMING BACK TO THEM SO THEY CAN USE THE UNSEEN REALM TO FIX OTHER PEOPLE’S PROBLEMS

SHAMANS MAY SPEND THE NIGHT WITH THE ILL PERSON HELPING THEM TO COMMUNICATE WITH MALEVOLENT SPIRITS (PAGE 33).

NO MEDICAL TESTS.

SURGERY, AUTOPSIES, AND EMBALMING TABOO (PAGE 33).

NEVER SHAMAN’S FAULT FOR FAILING. MORE SPIRITS FAULT FOR NOT COOPERATING OR BEING STUBBORN.

EXPLANATION OF WHAT SHAMANS DO WHEN ILL PERSON IS SUFFERING OF EPILEPTIC SHOCKS. (PAGE 284).

HOW DOCTORS TREAT MEDICAL PROBLEMS

THEY USE WESTERN METHODS.

THEY PERFORM MANY TESTS AND USE DRUGS TO CURE SICKNESS.

THEY DON’T LOOK AT THE SPIRITUAL ASPECT...
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