The Spirit Catches You 1

Answer these questions based on the book “The Spirit Catches You And You Fall Down”
Use these links since you do not have the book.
We will devote two class days to “book club” style discussion of Anne Fadiman’s book, The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. The first discussion will cover Chapters 1-8 and the second discussion will cover Chapters 9-19. To ensure a productive discussion, everyone needs to have read the book. Therefore, the following assignment is due one hour before the class discussion. Please be detailed and use specific examples from the book. I cannot assume anyone has read the book – you must demonstrate it with your writing.

1.Using examples from the book, explain how cultural differences can obstruct health care, beyond language barriers.

2.Who did you identify with most while reading these chapters? The American medical professionals or the Hmong families? Why?

3.In your opinion, are Hmong families in Merced better off with Western medicine in their lives? Why or why not?

4.When discussing the decision to place Lia in foster care, Dr. Neil Ernst states that, “I felt it was important for these Hmongs to understand that there were certain elements of medicine that we understood better than they did and that there were certain rules they had to follow with their kids’ lives.” What do you think of this statement? In what was is it true that physicians practicing Western medicine know more about how to treat a Hmong child than a shaman from the Hmong culture? In what ways is it not true?

5.Is anyone at fault for Lia’s medical outcome? If so, who?

6.Did the Merced hospital do enough to meet the needs of its Hmong patients? Why or why not? To what extent should our health care system adapt when Western medical knowledge conflicts with a patient’s cultural knowledge and practices?

7.In Chapter 6, the author introduces Dr. Roger Fife. He is popular among the Hmong patients he sees, but not well-regarded by his colleagues. Why do you think this is the case? If you were to become a health care provider, would you seek to emulate Dr. Fife? Why/why not? How/how not?

Sample Solution