Cultural and Ethical Issues in Pediatric End-of-Life Care Term Paper by Nicky

A look at challenges experienced by a Hmong family when dealing with their child's illness in a California medical center.
# 146039 | 3,320 words | 8 sources | APA | 2010 | US

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This paper explores the experiences of a Hmong family in California as they dealt with their daughter's health issues and the medical system's cultural ignorance. The book "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" by A. Fadiman serves as a spring board for the discussion, yet the paper is not only a book review but an examination of the importance of cultural awareness in medicine. The paper gives an in-depth summary of the book followed by a discussion of the difficulties in adaptation and adjustment to Western medical culture for the Hmongs. Background about Hmong healing traditions are described, showing how they can clash with the Western approach. The paper continues by showing how palliative care must sensitively deal with cultural differences, especially in the case when children are the patients. Additionally, the role of the nurse practitioner is discussed in these situations. The paper concludes by stating that medical practitioners should be culturally sensitive and integrate different practices and beliefs in caring for patients.

Book Summary
Ethical and Cultural Issues

From the Paper:

"The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is the story of an American-born, Hmong child named Lia Lee with a severe form of epilepsy. She is the daughter of Hmong refugees, mother Foua and father Nao Kao Lee, who have settled in Merced, California during the 1980's. The Lees are among many Hmong refugees who have fled Laos since their country fell to Communist forces led by Pathet Lao in 1975 (Fadiman, 2007). Like many Hmong families, the Lees were self-sufficient farmers in the mountains of Laos until the Communist war and political strife chased them away. The refugees went to all different parts of the world, but the Lees chose to settle in Merced, California. Many Hmong refugees considered the American culture as a savior from their political strife, but they lost their personal identity in the process of assimilation into American society."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Board on Health Sciences Policy (2003). When children die: improving palliative and end-of-life care for children and their families. Institute of Medicine., Merced, California (2008). Retrieved from on January 28, 2009.
  • Contro, N.A., Larson, J., Scofield, S., Sourkes, B., & Cohen, H.J. (2004). Hospital staff and family perspectives regarding quality of pediatric palliative care. Pediatrics, 114(5), 1248-1252.
  • Davies, B., & Oberle, K. (1990). Dimensions of the supportive role of the nurse in palliative care. Oncology Nursing Forum, 17(1), 87-94.
  • Fadiman, A. (1997). The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux: New York.
  • Mazanec, P., & Tyler, M. K. (2003). Cultural considerations in end-of-life care: How ethnicity, age, and spirituality affect decisions when death is imminent. American Journal of Nursing, 103(3), 50-58.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Cultural and Ethical Issues in Pediatric End-of-Life Care (2010, December 14) Retrieved December 02, 2023, from

MLA Format

"Cultural and Ethical Issues in Pediatric End-of-Life Care" 14 December 2010. Web. 02 December. 2023. <>