Cultural Medical Differences Comparison Essay by Neatwriter

Cultural Medical Differences
This paper compares the ethical and cultural medical traditions of two different cultures: The United States and the Hmong, an indigenous population native of Laos, a growing immigrant presence in California.
# 60620 | 790 words | 2 sources | MLA | 2005 | US

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This paper explains the case of Lia, a Hmong girl stricken with epilepsy, which causes a cultural clash between her physicians and her parents. The author point out that her physicians defined Lia's illness in physical and chemical terms, but Lia's parents, like many Hmong people, regarded epilepsy with ambivalence because, to them, epileptic seizures are often seen as trances, giving the affected person special powers. The paper relates that Lia's parents violated several precepts of Western medicine by refusing medical treatment and purposely giving their daughter improper dosages of medicine; however, Lia's well-meaning physicians also unknowingly violated several important tenets of Hmong culture, such as their discussions of Lia's possible death.

From the Paper:

"Lia's parents, however, have a distinct explanatory model for their daughter's illness. The epilepsy was caused when a startled Lia's soul fled her body and became lost. Lia's soul had fallen prey to a thieving dab, a malevolent spirit. Therefore, Lia's soul was trapped outside her body, which remained rooted to the ground. Among the symptoms of this soul loss are fainting, rolling eyes and jerking limbs - which are also the classic symbols of a seizure that accompanies epilepsy."

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