Chapters 5 & 6

In Chapter 5 we learn more about Lia’s treatment and the disconnect between the Hmong people and Lia’s doctors. The first part of the chapter talks about Lia’s relationship with her parents, how her dad likes that she is a little overweight and how Lia is much more soothed when she is around her mother. Both parents are very skeptical of the treatment process at MCMC, but especially the father. There is a lack of communication and confusion between the doctors and the Lee’s about Lia’s medicine and dosage. The doctors don’t believe that Lia is getting the proper amount of her medicine at the correct time, however the Lee’s are not able to read in English well (if at all). Neil and Peggy, Lia’s doctors, are very frustrated as they fear that Lia is going to die if the Lee’s continuing to “defy” their treatment plan. In Chapter 6, we learn about the history and backstory of how the Hmong people. The Hmong believed doctors were shady and wanted to experiment on their patients. However, the doctors working at MCMC are not there for the money as they could be working for wealthier patients. To the Hmong, their treatment for medicine was a part of their religion, and religion was their society, so in turn the society was medicine and health and spirituality. The doctors at MCMC know only little about the Hmong people, and have not made many strides to learn more about the Hmong that they treat.

These two chapters analyze the western and Hmong culture and give a parallel of their lives. The Doctors are controlled to a fault where their routines are very structured and ridged, just as the Hmong lifestyle is ridged and structured in its beliefs about religion and culture. In these chapters there is also a clear disconnect between the two cultures that is doing nothing but harming Lia. The Lees couldn’t write in Hmong or speak English, making it very difficult for them to communicate. Rather than try to help or find a different way to communicate, the doctors and nurses at MCMC thought that the Lees were either stubborn or resistant against the western medicine. Even referring to them as “very stupid” and writing off the Lees the ability to communicate in anyway. At first, I was frustrated that the westerners were not more willing to change things to meet the needs of the Lees, but at the same time as much as their culture means a lot to them their child is suffering because of stubbornness. I think this is a grey area where there needs to be a mutual effort and trust from both and some more respect.



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