I chose the ethnomedical approach because I think that the meanings of health and illness are truthfully in the eye of the beholder. Different cultures see illness and disease differently and have different treatments. Every culture and nation does not know about “western” medicine. Even within the united states, doctors treat patients that may not agree with the treatment that the doctor prescribes or may not understand the implications of a diagnosis. Much of this does depend of the level of education, but it also depends on the traditional beliefs of a culture and the resources available to them. An example that makes an argument for the ethnomedical approach would be in the case of Lia Lee. Her story is told in the book “The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down: A Hmong Child, Her American Doctors, and the Collision of Two Cultures” by Anne Fadiman. Lia’s family members are Hmong refugees from Laos. Lia is also epileptic and there is a clash between her family’s spiritual beliefs of the disease and the doctors scientific approach. Her family doesn’t understand the true implications of her epilepsy, the reasons that she has to take the medicine. The doctors have no understanding of the Hmong culture and how to communicate to Lia’s family the seriousness of her condition. This misunderstanding of both sides causes Lia’s condition to worsen over time.
I think that disease and illness are sometimes interpreted as being the same, but I do that I understand how they are different. Disease is considered the physical abnormalities and biological symptoms seen clinically. Illness is based more on the cultural beliefs and experiences of a person and their perceptions of what is healthy.
The culture that Miner is talking about it American culture. I had a little chuckle after reading through the second paragraph. As I was reading about the location I had an inkling that it was the United States and then when it talked about George Washington that is when I definitely knew.
Miner talks about how people have shrines to avert ugliness and the more affluent a family is the more shrines they have in their household. These shrines would be bathrooms. Americans are all about cleanliness and the bathroom is where you get clean. It’s were you take care of your appearance. The part I found interesting is how Miner interpreted the dentist. Personally, I am always looking at people’s teeth. Having a good teeth that are healthy is way of telling if a person is in good overall health, it ups the attractiveness of a person, and also can show the social standing of a person. At the end Miner talks about how human sexuality is taboo, but in other cultures it is not. He also talks about how Americans actively use family planning methods and pregnant women wear clothes to cover up their pregnant bodies. In other cultures, people are more open about sexuality, pregnancy is openly displayed because it is a sign of health, and less is understood about conception.