Chapters 5 and 6 reveal a lot about how the Hmong culture fits (or doesn’t fit) in the US health/medical system. It continues to tell the story of Lia Lee and her family’s personal experience with her illness; yet, it also provides many general ideas and beliefs about how people in the US medical field view the Hmong culture. This chapter taught me about how Hmong tend to act in emergency, and every day medical situations.
It is apparent that Lia Lee is not getting proper care for her seizures. She is not getting better and at first, I thought that this was because of a lack of resources and understanding between her family and the doctors; however, these chapters opened my eyes to the fact that it is not a lack of communication, it is a lack of discipline and belief in what medicine is capable of by her family. Doctors all over the hospital (the best doctors they have) make extensive efforts to help cure Lia, but somehow nothing ever seems to work. In the beginning, the doctors were confused as to how Lia’s condition could remain so chronic, but they quickly realize that Lia is not getting the care she needs. I found it very interesting that her family chooses to invest so much time in the hospital and with the doctors, yet they do not believe in the power of medicine. They see Lia’s medication as the thing that is killing her, rather than assisting her recovery, thus, they do not always follow the instructions for administering her medication. This reality upset me because as the chapter said many times, seizures create a huge amount of damage on the brain and by not administering her medication they are slowly destroying their daughters brain. I understand that cultural beliefs are unique to those who practice the culture, but it is hard for me to swallow the reality that they are harming their daughter. I am interested to see how Lia’s journey unfolds because these chapters left me feeling hopeless and frustrated.