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Anne Fadiman, the author of The Sprit Catches You and You Fall Down, states that the American hospital believes in the western medical practice that focuses on the treatment of particular parts of the body. However, the Hmong understands that what western tradition calls epilepsy as the condition in which one’s soul leaves the body and becomes lost. The Hmong people treat illnesses through ceremonies and rituals, western medicine views them as unscientific, that seek to bring the soul back to a healthy condition. Due to these very different views on treatment, the way the Lia would be treated was conflicted. Fadiman feels that Lia’s life was ruined, but not by septic shock or noncompliance from the parents but was ruined by the cross-cultural misunderstanding. I do feel that Lia’s life was not ruined because many doctors had confirmed that even if the cultural differences had been resolved the main outcome for Lia would have ended the same. After Lia had become vegetated her parents took immaculate care of her. Lia was always well-dressed and well-groomed. Even though she was in a vegetative state they still loved their daughter and stated that they will take care of her with all of their heart. Even Lia’s parents did not seem to think that their daughter’s life was ruined because she was in a vegetative state.
Fadiman, Anne. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2012.