Ann's Reviews > The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
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's review
Jan 26, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: medicine, 2009
Read in January, 2009

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down is the clash between western medicine and Hmong ritual healing as played out in the care of Lia Lee, a child with epilepsy. Author Anne Fadiman does an incredible job explaining the conflict, because I felt great frustration and great compassion for both the Lee family and the doctors, in succession as the story unfolded. The cultural barrier was often more insurmountable than the language barrier in trying to find common ground between the two worlds.

How do you medicate a patient who doesn't speak the language? A patient who believes the medicines are the root of the illness? Or who thinks the illness is actually a gift and a sign of divinity? How do you accommodate traditional healing practices that seem at odds with western medicine?

This book brings up some interesting moral and ethical questions, and is a surprisingly easy read.
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message 1: by Ann (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ann Dan wrote: "So good, yes?"

loved it!

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