Chapters 5 and 6

Chapters 5 and 6 began by discussing how the Lee’s continued not to give Lia the proper medication for her seizures. Her two doctors Dr. Neil Ernest and Dr. Peggy Philip gave her multiple medications and increased her dosage of drugs over 20 times, but because the parents did not understand English and were still distrustful of the doctors and Western medicine Lia never received the proper medicine. The doctors even decide to send a nurse to monitor the medication route, and still, Lia does not accept the appropriate care. This process of refusing medication continues for a couple of years, and Lia continues having seizures and is showing signs of mental delay. The doctors also learn that the mother, Foua is pregnant once again. Lia’s doctors decide to call CPS and have her removed from the parents care. This chapter gave me a lot of conflicting thoughts. I first thought that the parents were very unreasonable for not giving Lia her medicine. But then I thought that it is reasonable for the parents who do not understand what the doctors are asking them to do and to be wary of the doctors and Western medicine. I think in my experience it’s hard to imagine a situation where I would ignore something a doctor told me to do or not take prescribed medication. In my experience, I have grown up with Western medicine, and I trust and respect doctors to help me get better. I also have a lot of conflicting thoughts about Lia’s doctors calling CPS. I understand their reasoning for calling them because of the refusal to take medicine and because the family already has eight other children and another on the way, but I still feel that it was wrong in a way. I think that in the long run, it was the correct decision to take Lia away because she needs to get proper treatment and get her epilepsy under control. A part of me feels wrong I don’t know why. I think maybe I think this way because I believe that if you want to refuse treatment because of cultural or religious or personal reasons you can reject treatment especially in cases of terminal diseases. This is a different situation because the person being treated is a child who doesn’t understand medicine is unable to be in charge or her care. This also reminds of a book I read for one of my anthropology classes called Our Bodies Belong to God. This book was about the need for kidney transplants in Egypt. Many patients refuse operations because it goes against their religious beliefs to put another organ in their body that God didn’t give to them. This chapter reminded me of this book because taking the Western medicine goes against the Hmong people’s cultural beliefs.

In chapter 6 the Hmong refugee’s opinions about America and doctors were described. The Hmong thought that doctors in America were going to experiment on them and not treat them properly. These rumors spread throughout the camp, and many believed this when they came to America. The doctors also have a lot of misconceptions about the Hmong people. Many don’t understand their culture and don’t even like them. I thought this chapter was very interesting because it shows that this disconnect between the Hmong people and the doctors is a two-way street. Meaning that there are faults on both sides because neither side wants to take a step out of their own culture and try to fix the problem. I think this is a big problem not only in medicine in America but also in all other aspects of life.

Published by

One thought on “Chapters 5 and 6

  1. I think the tricky thing with this situation was is that they weren’t not giving Lia the medicine because they wanted her to get sicker. However, that’s exactly what they were doing. I understand that for a child to get taken away from their parents, there doesn’t have to be mal intent. But it seems like there should be some sort of way to bridge that cultural divide before CPS would even need to get involved. I think that some of the faults may lie with the incompetent medical system and not just Lia’s parents.

Comments are closed.