Nov. 14: Book Club Discusses Hmong Medical Saga in America

| November 1, 2011

It’s almost Book Club time again! Our read this month is a work of non-fiction about refugees, health care, and the importance of learning about and respecting cultures beyond our own.

Join us Nov. 14 at noon in the Library Conference Room as we discuss:

The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures, by Anne Fadiman.

Lia Lee’s first seizure came when she was three months old. Her Hmong refugee parents took her to the emergency room near their home in Southern California. Over the next four years, doctors, nurses, and social workers try to give the best care possible to the child.

But frustration increases as Lia Lee’s parents opt for animal sacrifices and the help of shaman rather than complying with the strict and complicated medication program and its side effects. Everyone is trying to do what is best for Lia Lee, but the lack of understanding of the cultures each side is coming from leads to tragic complications.

Here is a review from the Canadian Medical Association Journal if you want to learn more about the book [PDF]:  http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1230469/pdf/cmaj_161_2_174.pdf.

Holly Hubenschmidt, MLS, AHIP
Head of Instruction and Liaison Services
Webster University Library

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Category: St. Louis Campus News

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