Ch. 7 & 8

Chapters 7 and 8 focus on the time Lia was placed in foster care. Fadiman notes that Neil thought of other options beside reporting the Lees to Child Protective Services in retrospect. Neil mentioned that he used to feel troubled about his choice but he was more concerned about Lia’s welfare which seems reasonable. The only comment by Neil that threw me off was that he thought it important the Hmongs learned the lesson that “there were certain elements of medicine [American doctors] understood better than they did and that there were certain rules they had to follow with their kids’ lives” and he continued with “I wanted to get out in the community that if they deviated from that, it was not acceptable behavior” (Fadiman 79). I found this passage compelling because Neil’s priority was not only that Lia receive proper care. He also wanted to teach the Hmongs a lesson about accepting Western medicine.

    In foster care, Lia’s condition got worse and her foster parents believed she should be reunited with her parents. They also had issues with the way MCMC treated their patients, preferring the medical care of Emanuel Medical Center (Fadiman 88). This makes me think that MCMC contributed to the problems in Lia’s case through subpar medical treatment, even though they placed all the blame on Lia’s parents. I thought this once again when Lia’s foster mother, Dee, took her to another hospital where she was prescribed one singular medication that proved more effective than the cocktail she was receiving before. The Lees also found it easier to learn this routine and trusted the medication more (Fadiman 91). I think MCMC should have let the Lees know there were other medical options and considered other paths. Although the Lees might be difficult patients, MCMC was not effective at handling the cultural barrier. Chapter 8 delves more into Foua and Nao’s personalities. Through Fadiman’s eyes, I noticed the intelligence of Lia’s parents. Foua details her routine in Laos to Fadiman, showing us the immense amount of work she did to keep her family afloat (Fadiman 105). Although medical professionals cannot follow all the beliefs and traditions of immigrants and refugees in regard to medication, they should provide different treatment options, so these groups can select one they are more comfortable with. My own experience with healthcare and my parents has been rather interesting. I would say it has been successful for the most part. I remember as a child that my parents were able to communicate with nurses in Spanish and even my white doctors were relatively fluent in the language. They always made sure there was someone to fully explain to my parents what they were doing. There were bilingual programs and events. The biggest problem that would occur was services being shut down due to funding. The healthcare system needs to have more funding for these sorts of programs or it needs to be completely rebuilt, especially now as medical care has become a bigger issue in the social political sphere.

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One thought on “Ch. 7 & 8

  1. I was also thrown off by Neil’s comment about American doctors knowing better than the Hmong about medicine and how he wanted to “teach them a lesson” in a sense. There seemed to be such an air of superiority and evidence of the ethnocentric, all-knowing nature of many Western medical professionals that was almost kind of irritating. I definitely agree that the doctors and residents at MCMC should have provided other options, instead of continuing to push methods that were not productive. It was frustrating that MCMC couldn’t work out a way to do this for so long, when the other hospital successfully altered their treatment.

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