Shaman

Shaman

Health care
is a vital and necessary part of life. From prenatal care to end of like care,
everyone sees or at least needs to seek medical care. In this week’s assignment
the class is to read and digest care given by various “alternative” methods. The
methods included herbal tradition (I am guessing like Chinese “medicine” and spiritual).

In this article
hospitals are inviting in Hmong shamans to preform what is essentially witch
doctor “magic” to treat disease and sickness. Using hand cymbals and incense
(which necessitated turning OFF the smoke detectors), to drive out spirits and
what not.

The new “healers”
in this case are Hmong shaman. Hmong are a south East Asian hill people that immigrated
to the United States as refugees, escaping retribution from communist governments
and paramilitaries for their armed resistance to communism and aiding the
United States (and prior to that France).  The article states that they use spiritual
healing to drive out spirits. In the United States they work alongside
physicians and paramedical staff in select hospitals.

The shaman
did not appear to have a strong understanding of medicine as a science. As the article
states “the Hmong believe that souls, like errant children, are capable of
wandering off or being captured by malevolent spirits, causing illness”. The hospitals
participating in this project, made the shaman attend a seven week sort of boot
camp., in which they learned germ theory and looked through microscopes.

The hope of
these programs were to ease Hmong into using modern medicine, to treat some
ailments that respond well with treatment, although as the article further
states  even some basic and routine care
is viewed with fear and as a taboo. As the older initial wave of refugees age
and younger and increasingly assimilated, the need for such “care” is diminished.

Source http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/20/us/20shaman.html?_r=2

Medical Doctors in Great Britain

In the Frontline: Sick around the World film they compared the health system of Great Britain’s to America’s healthcare. The film also covered other countries like Japan, Germany, and Taiwan. In Great Britain the healthcare is run by the government and called the National Health Service (NHS) for short. This system covers everybody in the country. The cost of healthcare is free everybody who lives there. Nobody pays insurance premiums or copays. Since there are no medical bills of any kind their country can also claim no medical bankruptcy either. The healthcare is paid from tax revenue so they do end up paying higher taxes. Also their system can claim better healthcare statistics than us with longer life spans and lower infant mortality rates. The healers there are licensed doctors who are really salaried government employees who make good money and live in a higher social status because of their income. Some the techniques Great Britain is known of is their preventative medicine. The government and doctors push preventative medicine on their patients. Doctors even get monetary bonuses when their patients stay healthy. Some doctors interact with their patients as gatekeepers. You have to see a general practitioner before seeing a specialist. Also they are known for having long waiting lists to see the doctor but this is changing and the waiting lists are growing shorter over the years.

The Great Britain healthcare system operates in the professional sector. The doctors there are organized, legally sanctioned health professional that are also the gatekeepers of knowledge and treatments. There in Great Britain, biomedicine is the authoritative form healthcare since it is western society so that is what is used to understand and treat symptoms of the body when ill. Prescription drugs are also another way to look at how doctors treat their patients and are the only ones who can prescribe them as well.