Azusa Pacific University
GLBL 310 Intercultural Communication
Professor: Dr. Catherine Reyes
March 18, 2013
Chapter Analysis: Chapter 18 - The Life or the Soul Analysis
The book The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman (1997) contains a story about a Hmong child, Lia Lee, who experienced a culture collision with American doctors. This narrative explains how important it is to understand, and accept the other culture when providing medical care. Misunderstanding and miscommunication between different cultures not only influence people’s opinion of medical care, they also influence the outcome of the care. In Chapter 18, The Life or the Soul Analysis, Fadiman discusses how to improve Hmong health care, and the importance of integrating “Western allopathic medicine with traditional healing arts” (Fadiman, 1997, p. 266). Fadiman (1997) gives the reader four examples of how the Hmong think about medicine verses their spirit and how to improve their health care. Hmong people believe that a spirit can cause illness. If they refuse to accept the illness, they believe they will “be reincarnated, over and over again” (Fadiman, 1997, p. 266) with this illness. Consequently, Hmong parents often refuse to allow their children have surgery. This example shows that the Hmong people put their spirits on top of the illness. However, a medical caregiver cannot sabotage their ability of providing good care when a Hmong patient is not complaining. Fadiman mentioned in Chapter 18 that, in order to improve the medical care of the Hmong population, the caregiver first needs to understand and respect their culture. For example, he or she must first “arrange for female doctors to treat female patients, and male doctors to treat male patients” (Fadiman, 1997, p. 266). Offering an interpreter who is bicultural and bilingual will help the caregiver communicate better with Hmong patients. A...